Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Relative Reunion

Last night was... oh ya know... one of those nights where I was just done. The kids were driving me nuts and I was just longing for them to go to bed. Finally peace and quiet. 

We rarely watch TV. I let the kids watch maybe one PBS show a day... maybe two if they are lucky. (Unless you are sick... then it is TV all day over here. That's a different story though!) But seriously, the TV is hardly ever on.

Yesterday though, I just wanted something to unwind with in the evening. So I turned on the ROKU (streaming TV) and started hunting for something to watch. I managed to browse through BYUtv and saw "Relative Race." I had heard both of my mom and grandma talk about. Figured I had nothing to loose so I pressed play.

The show touched me more than I thought it would. Probably because I connected to it on such a personal level. So the gist of "Relative Race" is 4 teams are driving all over the country meeting people they are related to through their DNA samples. Their family that they never knew. Distant cousins. Aunts. Uncles. Extended family of some sort.

The thing that hit me was that they are all family. They care for each other and welcome them openly even though they have never met. And I'm sure that having a camera in your face probably encourages the hospitality but still it truly does feel genuine. They have a love that can only be described in one way... family. 

Recently my husband and I had our own "Relative Race" or rather "Relative Reunion" because we were not driving all over the whole country. I'm sure that's why the show touched me so deeply. My husband's father passed away. For reasons I would rather not discuss... and ones I don't even entirely understand myself... contact has been kept to extremely limited or even non-existent. I was so nervous to attend the funeral. It would be a room filled with strangers. That shared my husband's blood but did that really make them family?! Would I be comfortable? Would we be welcomed? 

But attend the funeral we did. And there was a love there. A love that can only be described in one way... family. We met his siblings that he has no memories of. We met their children. We heard stories of his father. We worked to fill in the missing pieces of the family tree. We were connected and we always will be. 

Why... because we are family.

At the funeral... Casey with some siblings that he just met.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Divine Intervention with Closing

Exactly one week ago on March 6th, I wrote on my facebook
"I remember all the miracles and prayers it took for us to move to our current house. And because of a loving Heavenly Father, it all worked out. Right now we are praying for miracles again. It is going to take some major help from the other side to have everything for both houses come together at the same time."
I can hardly believe that it has only been one week since I wrote that. It seems soooo much longer because so many things have happened. I thought I would recount the story of our divine intervention simply because so many in my ward today wanted to know the details.

So let's back up a bit...

And first define a couple of things. It is in relation to us.
1. "Seller" means the person who currently owns the house we want to buy (and will be buying).
2. "Buyer" means the people who are going to be buying our current house.
3. "Our Realtor" mean the best of the best. Most patient and amazing and knowledgeable realtor helping to deal with all the problems and such a unique situation.

When we originally placed an offer on our new house, it was conditional that our current house would sell. We had the settlement date written as March 31st with the understanding that it would change based on how fast our current home sold. The seller and seller's agent agreed that the settlement date would likely change.

Our house went under contract fast and the settlement date that the buyers gave us was March 15th.  Our realtor contacted the seller's agent. And everything was agreed to March 15. Verbally. We never sent a revision to change it. But everything seemed fine and so we all went forward.

Inspections. Appraisals. Underwriting. Etc.

Realizing how quickly and smoothly everything was proceeding, we asked to change the settlement date from the 15th to the 9th. With the reason being we would not have to pay our mortgage for March. Instead we would use our March mortgage money to help with the down payment.

The buyers agreed. The seller said he would see. No one responded quickly though. Finally the seller said that he could not close that soon because his loan for his new house could not be processed but he agreed to the 15th. Verbally. We changed the date back to the 15th with the buyers. Everything was still going forward.

This brings us back to around a week ago. We learned that the seller's loan had not even been sent to underwriting yet. Let alone come out and sat its government required waiting period. It became clear that there was going to be no way the seller would be closing on the 15th. And because everything was agreed verbally; legally he had until March 31st for settlement.

Our only hope for our buyer's to grant us an extension that released us from their date of the 15th. Then we would extend it to match whenever the seller would be able to close.

Well. That was not happening. The buyers had already moved out of their apartment. And they refused to give us any more time than what was the written agreement.

We were going to end up homeless. And my stress level started to rise. Our realtor started trying to figure out any kind of a plan. Long-term motel? Rent a POD or storage unit? Oh my goodness the extra costs would add up quickly with those.

I changed my prayers. Instead of praying for everything to work out on the 15th, I (1) prayed for peace and (2) prayed that we would blessed with something better.

No matter what our realtor tried or asked, we were getting no where. Buyer insisted on the 15th for closing. Seller could not do it.

March 10th. Turned into a super disappointing evening. Our realtor relayed messages that he finally received from the buyer. I cried. I wondered if we just needed to back out and loose our earnest money and the house we wanted to move too. As well as having to pay the buyer for us backing out. At this point, that began to seem like what was going to have to happen.

I again just prayed for peace. And my prayers were truly answered. I slept perfectly peacefully. For me having insomnia, and having to deal with so many nightmares before bedtime, I did not think I would be sleeping that night. But I did. And I was peaceful.

My sister texted me this quote that evening. (I made it pretty the next morning.)
I so needed these precious words from Elder Holland. I seriously think once we do move, I'm going to be making a permanent wood sign (paint? modge podge? etc) of some sort with this quote on to hang in our new house. I need this reminder in my daily life because life is always hard... regardless of if you are moving or not.

Which finally brings us to Friday March 11th. The day we learned that our prayers have been answered.

Our buyers' agent finally contacted our agent on March 11th. (Remember how I said neither party was awesome at responding quickly... it is frustrating on our end!) But, our buyer's loan (theirs, not ours) got stuck in underwriting. They couldn't figure it out. Supposedly they were going to be ready by the 9th and therefore were refusing to let us extend the settlement deadline.

But. Their was divine intervention.

And the buyers' loan became stuck in underwriting. They are now having to ask us to grant them an extension.

We are counting our blessings and offering prayers of gratitude that we will not be homeless. I paid our mortgage for March. Simply grateful that we have a place to call home and not worrying about the down payment currently.

So... that brings us to the big question of when is closing? And when are we moving?

The answer... we don't know. No idea.

Sometime between now and March 31st. Hopefully sooner than later. Probably in the 20s somewhere. And not on a Sunday. Hopefully we will learn more tomorrow when the underwriting is back at work. We are living in boxes. Most things are packed. And yet we are so blessed and so ok with living in boxes. Heavenly Father is so good and somehow things will work out!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

If Goodbyes Were Easy

If goodbyes were easy then it means friendships were not created. And as much as I hate saying goodbye, it means that I have someone to say goodbye to. Someone that cares. The larger the tears, the deeper the friendship.

This is so true right now. We were never planning on moving again. We put down our roots and made friendships that we thought would never end. While we are not moving that far away comparatively, Sundays just won't be the same.

Today I sat by one of my dearest friends in Relief Society. She doesn't have facebook and had not read the blog posts. She had no idea we were moving but heard through the grapevine sometime while I was teaching a different Sunday School class. She cried. I tried hard not to cry....

This beautiful sister snuggles (sometimes... if they will let her) my Little Loves for me so I can have a break. Heidi would see her across the chapel and start waving and saying hi while grinning. She laughs with me. She cries with me. She has truly blessed my life.

And now we have to say goodbye. And it is anything but easy.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The New House

Everyone wants to know details about our latest adventure. I thought I would share what I can remember.

First of all. I have only been inside the new house twice. And both times, it seems that I was more concerned about one of my Little Loves touching/ breaking something, than the actual house....

So... hopefully these details will improve in the future. Lol.

  • It faces south. We are pretty excited because the snow will melt on the driveway much better than our current north facing home.
  • It is a rambler!! No more going up and down stairs just to use the restroom, grab shoes, change a diaper, etc. My arthritic knees are going to be so grateful!!!!!
  • Double car garage! This will be the first time ever in my life that I have had a house with a garage. This luxury just seems too good to be true.
  • When you open the front door and turn to the right, you are standing in the family room. It has a wood floor and a yellow brick fireplace. This room is open with the dining room. 
  • With the family room, dining and kitchen all together, it becomes a "great" room. This was one of my requirements so we could have a gathering place.
  • The dining room has a door that opens to the back yard and also another door to the garage. I have no idea what the floor looks like in the dining/ kitchen. Some tile/ laminate of some sort.
  • The kitchen has newer remodeled cupboards and the counters look beautiful! It is slightly smaller than my GIANT kitchen right now. So this was one of our compromises that we can deal with. However, no one can see the kitchen counters from the front door. So... you know those days when there are stacks of dishes and someone knocks on the door (happens in our current home all the time. No one comes unless the kitchen is a disaster.), at our new home, you can't see the kitchen at all from the front door. Yay!
  • Now back up to to first walking in the front door. If you turn to your left, you will go into the formal living room. I'm thrilled that there is both a formal living room and family room on the same floor!! The living room is carpeted and has two windows. And it has beautiful glass double doors. So. I can keep the doors shut and keep the Little Loves out of it. This will be our clean, scripture study, FHE, welcome guest room. LOVE it!!!
  • The stairs are also near the front door that go to the basement. There is a wood banister.
  • I remember there being closets but now as I try to remember where, I have no idea. 
  • So there are three rooms on the main floor. And a full bathroom that the kids will use. And three-quarters bath that is only accessed in the master bedroom.
  • All the rooms have really large closets though none are walk-in.
  • The kids room have wood floor. The master has carpet.
  • And then the basement. It is completely finished!! All the floor is carpet. And has two bedrooms and a full bath. 
  • Plus it has a HUGE family room. Like gigantic! This room could easily be converted into two more bedrooms really easily by adding a couple of walls. For now, we are happy with the space. It will be awesome for family gatherings and parties!
  • There is a "Harry Potter" storage under the stairs. I'm sure it will be used to play hide and seek.
  • Plus there is a giant storage room with a cold pantry storage. Pretty much in love! 
  • And there is a separate laundry room. With a sink in it. (It is not connected at the moment. But trust me... it will be soon!) AND the best part. There is a laundry shoot from the upstairs to the laundry room. Love! 
  • There is also a separate utility closet with a 2009 furnace. At least we are not trading our 2013 furnace for one that is really old and will have to be replaced soon. Very grateful. Plus it has central air. And we think a humidifier is attached to it but are not certain.
  • Downstairs there is super outdated wallpaper. It will have to go. But that was something I could live with until we can change it. I pretty much want to paint all the walls both up and down so it will be a fun colorful process.
  • Finally the back yard. It is rather large. I think bigger than our current yard and we thought it was big here! Everything was covered in a ton of snow the two times we have seen the house. But. I think it looked like it has a garden. And two storage sheds. We think it has a cement patio. Lots of trees. And the best part. It has a swing set!! We are talking real swing set here that looks like it is cemented into the ground. Hard to tell with all the snow what it really is. But I know it is staying and will be loved!

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Timeline of Change

Sometimes life changes quickly.

Right now we are experiencing one of those "quickly" times.

Sun Jan 17.
Our home teachers came over. I remember them asking us how long we planned to stay in our home. To which we replied awhile. I have been looking at school options but Devin still has the rest of this year of preschool plus another whole year. We really were content to stay. Plus. Hello. We just finished our basement. I want to enjoy it!

Sat Jan 23.
The thought came to me that I should look into dual immersion schools. Totally random thought because up to this point, I had only really looked at charter schools. I posted on my facebook if anyone had any experience with dual immersion and figured that would be my research.

Mon Jan 25. 
I was sick. We had a pajama and movie day.

Tues Jan 26.
Repeat of pajama day. That evening after the kids were in bed, Casey stayed up to finish a movie that was due at the library. I tried to go to sleep. Instead turned to Google on my phone and started researching dual immersion. I learned that it is available in several languages and also that there is a difference between a one-way dual immersion and a two-way dual immersion. As I was bouncing websites, I found that there was a parent meeting for dual immersion on Jan 27.

Wed Jan 27.
Attended parent meeting. Super impressed with the school as well as the program. Learned that acceptance into the dual immersion program is awarded by a three-tier "lottery" system. Level one to students that live in the school boundaries. Level two to students that live in the district. Level three to students outside the district. (With level zero being given to siblings of those already in the program.) Decided that I want to live in that school's boundaries by the time Devin starts kindergarten so he would be in the level one lottery. So we would need to move in the next 18 months or so. No rush though.

Thur Jan 28.
Casey agreed with my idea of moving. But neither of us were in a hurry.

Fri Jan 29.
Texted our realtor (amazing realtor btw... in case anyone needs a referral... this man truly is the best and so on top of everything!) and told him we were going to look at moving but it wasn't a rush. I told him our requirements. It had to be in the boundaries of this one elementary school. And a rambler because my knees can't handle the stairs in our current home. Again told him we were in no hurry. Just something that to be in the back of his mind for when the right house appears.

Sat Jan 30.
Attended a free movie event with our mortgage company. (Love them too!) Talked briefly to our loan officer that we would be moving sometime in the next year or so but we were not in a hurry. He asked when we could come in and get preapproved. We didn't know. Sometime in the next week or two. But we were not ready to move right now. 

I had already sat down with our budget, figured out how much we would be comfortable with for a house payment and did the math myself. I knew what price range we could afford.

Mon Feb 1.
A house is listed that met all of my requirements (location, rambler, number of bedrooms, living and great room). Text realtor and ask if we can go see it. He takes us. The house smells faintly of smoke and strongly of Lysol. Not interested at all. I told him of another home in the area that was for sale that I thought met my requirements but was not certain. It was really a maybe and I wasn't even sure if I wanted to see it. I would have been OK just skipping seeing that house and going home. He takes us to that house.

And this is when everything changed quickly.

It is not my dream house. But it is close. The things I dislike I could either live with or we could change. We decide to think about it.

Tues Feb 2.
Ask to go see the house again during daylight hours. Casey left work a bit early and we went as soon as he got home. Meanwhile, I'm emailing with loan officer for our preapproval. Not the typical process. But we are preapproved. And our preapproval is for 75k more than what I had figured. Seriously?! There is no way we could afford a house payment that high. The loan officer agreed with me and what I had figured out with our budget but based on numbers, that was the amount. 

We go see the house again. There are things I want to change. But the pros outweigh the cons. We decided to put an offer on it. After the kids are in bed, we debate how much to offer. Finally decided, text it to our realtor. He sends us the documents and we electronically sign them around 11pm. Our offer is submitted. So much for moving in like a year plus. We are now moving immediately. This was not the plan. 

Wed Feb 3.
The offer is conditional that (1) our house will sell and that (2) our house will be on the market to be able to sell by Saturday. I start cleaning like crazy. And making trips to the DI. Who does this? To get a house from being lived in/ normal clutter to show ready in three days?! We wait to hear back from the offer.

Thurs Feb 4.
Cleaning. Casey took the day off work to finish the bathroom floor downstairs. The deadline for the counter offer passes. We hear nothing. 

Fri Feb 5. 
Casey again took the day off work. More DI runs. No response from the selling agent/ person selling the home. At this point we decide that basically our offer has been rejected. I put all the cleaning aside because there is no longer a rush with our offer being rejected. Instead of cleaning after lunch, I play with the kids and read books. Life is great. The stress is gone. We are back to the we will move someday.

About 2:30pm our realtor calls. He just got a counter offer with an extension because they missed the deadline. It was higher than we wanted but overall not terrible for the area and met our personal budget requirements. We decide to accept it.

I put the kids down for a nap. And really start cleaning like a crazy person. Holy cow. Even though the seller missed the deadline, we are still bound to have our current house on the market by Saturday. Thankfully it is anytime on Saturday.

Sat Feb 6.
We signed the counter offer. Turned the TV on for the kids. And then clean. Clean. Clean. We had the toilet installed for our brand new bathroom. Casey is doing touch up painting. As a result there is blue tape all over. Our realtor comes over. The house looks like a wreck. I mean we are not even talking about normal lived in mess. No. Total chaos. Somehow it has to get worse before it gets better. He had to take a few pictures to list our home. Uh. He had to be joking right?! We can't take pictures yet with the chaos. He wasn't joking. So we move the chaos to different sides of the room and take pictures without it.

My niece called and asked if we needed help cleaning. I about cried. We so needed help! She came over and helped me finish the kitchen. This was huge!! The kitchen became the dumping grounds as the other rooms became clean, random stuff and piles ended up in the kitchen. She was such a blessing! We talked while we cleaned. The company was appreciated too! She told me that she had no idea we were even moving but that Grandpa called and told her. That Grandpa. :) But trust me you haven't missed anything. No one knows. We didn't even know. This was definitely not in the plans.

Around 8:30 pm, we list our home for sale. No one knows yet. There is no sign in our yard and because of the way realtor websites update, our home is not even showing yet. But it is listed with the date of the 6th. We have written on the listing that there are no showings after 8 pm or on Sundays. So it didn't matter that there were still boxes piled all over the place and the floors were still dirty. We met the deadline for our agreement. It was listed.

Finally put the kids to bed much later than normal. Clean. Clean. Clean. Collapse into bed.

Sun Feb 7.
Go to church. We don't tell anyone. I don't know how to bring it up. Come home. Take naps. Work on a few things but try really hard to keep the Sabbath holy. Felt like we truly accomplished the impossible. Blessed from Heavenly Father to do so.

Mon Feb 8.
Wake up at O'dark thirty. Before work, Casey installed/ hung the new bathroom mirror. I run to Walmart. Buy grey towels to make the bathroom look pretty and match. End up buying a few other decorative things. Come home and Casey leaves for work. Clean bathroom floors. Wash counters. Get kids up. Eat breakfast. Vacuum the entire house including closets. My mom comes. She cut flowers and arranged them in vases. Place flowers all over the house. Keep vacuuming. My mom sweeps/ mops the kitchen floor. And changes Heidi's clothes.

Our realtor comes. And uses a pick axe to "dig" a hole in the frozen ground. For sale sign is placed. No one knows still. Very few cars drive on our street.

Open all the blinds. Turn on the lights. Grab anything that I can think we might need for the entire day. And leave. Two showings in the morning. Six showings in the late afternoon/ early evening. 


8 showings on Monday. 3 offers. Chose an offer that was higher than our list price. Sent a counter offer to lower their closing costs. They accepted Tuesday night!!!

So in exactly ONE week, we (1) decided we were moving right now, (2) placed an offer on a home, (3) went under contract on that home, (4) listed our home for sale, and (5) went under contract on our home.
grin emoticon

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Once upon a time...

There was a girl who loved to write.
She welcomed two Little Loves into the world.
All of the sudden, time for writing became super limited.

As the Little Loves grew, so did the need to keep them entertained.
Instead of blogging, the girl spent her time creating.
Making quiet books and file folder games.
Anything to keep her Little Loves quiet at church.
But the goal was not just to be quiet.
Rather Reverent.
So she wanted to make things that taught about Jesus and the gospel.

One time she decided to donate the quiet books for a charity fundraiser.
They sold out quickly.
And many still wanted a copy.

So the girl decided to open an Esty Shop.
To make the reverent creations available to everyone.
Prices are low.
Coupon codes happen frequently. (Like facebook to see the latest codes!)
Simply because the goal is to help other Little Loves.

Please go check it out.
Favorite the store.
Like it on facebook.
Pin your favorites.
Spread the word.

And the girl hopes to return to blogging. It is a hobby. A place to think. A place to be inspired. A place to remember.
No promises though....

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Heidi's History: SEVEN Months

Written on May 1st.

I woke up this morning and realized it was May. Then it hit me that it was May FIRST and Heidi was born on the FIRST. Holy cow... somehow overlooked that. And my baby is officially closer to one that to newborn now. I am with her everyday and yet somehow time goes so fast... so different now that I'm a mother instead of a student/ teacher.

And I was just scrolling through my blog so I could copy this to fill it out again. Apparently, "Heidi's History" is the only thing I write anymore.... Someday I will post more. But that someday is not in this stage of life with two little loves. I'm so busy and constantly trying to keep up with Devin.

Love her feet crossed!
Especially love her smile! :D

Heidi's Favorite Things: She loves being able to roll around and get what she wants. She loves sticking everything in her mouth. She loves smiling. She loves Devin--the two are best friends. (Though she gets nervous if he tries to love her too much/ too tight.) She loves sitting up and being able to see.

Most Memorable Moment(s): April 7--Heidi ate peanut butter for the first time. She also drank from a sippy cup. (That was the only day she drank from it because I gave up. About a month earlier, she would eye my water cup as I drank from it. I decided to share. She can drink from normal cups just fine but can't do a sippy.) April 11--Surprise! Heidi barely has a tooth coming through. No complaints on her part and it was a total surprise. Bottom, Center, Right tooth. April 12--Heidi took the Sacrament for the first time. I whispered in her ear to help her remember Jesus. April 16--first French Fry and first pizza bite. She loves french fries!! And loves pepperoni. She can't chew pepperoni very well but don't take it away from her otherwise it is a total meltdown. Also on April 16--Heidi's second tooth just barely broke through the surface. Again no complaints from her. Bottom, Center, Left.

Nicknames: Missy Moo, Happy Heidi (Devin has a new nickname for her practically everyday. Miss Cheeto. Miss Smiles. Miss Train. Princess.)

Dislikes: Getting in her carseat. Once she is in and buckled, it is fine. But Heidi cries during the actual getting in. She doesn't like to be left because she gets lonely. She wants to always be by me/ in a sling or carrier on me. Heidi doesn't like it when Devin's love becomes too much and she gets smothered. 

Clothing Size: Both 3-6 and 6-9 month. Sunday dresses she pretty much has to wear 12 month with a tie waistband because her legs are so long! At her 6 month check up the start of April, she was like 98% for height and around 30% for weight. Tall and skinny.

Diaper Size: Two. She had a killer diaper rash. And I scheduled an appointment to have it checked. No idea what the problem was but we could not get it to go away--even after following every suggestion from the pediatrician. Thankfully one of our dear friends is a pharmacist. He created a diaper rash concoction. Holy cow. The stuff is magic. Diaper rash is gone. Hallelujah!

Personality: She is the happiest little girl. It is just a delight having her smile in our home. She is very patient and puts up with almost everything. She likes to "talk". And she especially uses her voice to growl. Growling is a happy sound that Devin makes to play with her. So my DAUGHTER thinks growling is a natural happy sound.

Milestones: Heidi is officially mobile! Not in the normal sense of crawling. But she can move across the room to go get a toy she wants. She rolls. And then reaches. It is really cute. She is attempting to figure out what to do with her legs/ knees to crawl but more often than not, it is more like an army crawl where she pushes off with her feet and goes forward a tiny bit if she makes any progress with that. Normally it is just rolling. Heidi LOVES waving at people because it gets a response from them. And she loves the attention. It is the sweetest little wave with the most innocent eyes and biggest smile. Total strangers and friends are smitten by her little wave. She can stand by herself when holding onto something--she can't stand up, but can stay standing if I help her get the thing to hold onto. Her pincer grasp is also definitely improving! She attempts to feed herself but it is still a learning process. Sometimes it is pincer and sometimes it is whole fist grab then she wonders where the food went and how to get it in her mouth.

Sleeping: Heidi sleeps through the night. Thank goodness! Down around 9:30-10 and then awake around 7:30. She takes multiple naps during the day--normally after her tummy is full. But they are like cat naps. She is not a good sleeper during the day. I think Devin/ noise wakes her up. She is not grumpy though and her cat naps tide her over until she can sleep longer.

Eating: She eats three meals a day. She loves food that is in a "pouch" like applesauce, yogurt and baby food. She sucks it right out and can eat it quickly. We give her almost everything we are eating. She gums things very well--as long as it is soft. She still "nurses from a bottle" probably 5-6 times a day.

Communication: Heidi's babbles just barely started changing. I don't know how to describe it but it is like pre-talking noises instead of just random chatter. It is like she is trying to make a "tss" sound. She thinks she is talking when she does that. And I respond so it is almost like carrying on a conversation--I just have no idea what we are talking about. Lol. She definitely recognizes ASL for "milk." I keep teaching her. I think she will start using it soon.

The hardest part: Being a mom is hard. I remember that this is what I always wanted when I was growing up. But my dolls never made food disasters in the high chair. And they never rolled around and almost down the stairs. As the dolls got over, they never dumped out all of their toys and then refused to clean up. They never back talked or yelled at me. Somehow, I don't think I was prepared enough for what this real mom job is like. It is hard.
And... pumping is hard. Devin gets into the most trouble/ biggest messes made while I am pumping. I hate it and Devin abuses it.

My favorite part: The smiles. The hugs. The way her eyes light up when she sees me come for her. The knowing how to calm her down. The cute girl dresses. The being a mommy. The goodnight kiss!