Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Ideal Place

"Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and re-energize to prepare for future pressures.
The ideal place for that peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece."
(Elder Richard G. Scott April 2013)


The bank accepted our latest offer!!! Apparently the random digits won the bidding war! :D
We are under contract. We will be meeting with our real estate agent in a couple of hours. I'm getting my hand ready to sign my name a million times. I'm so excited to have finally found our "ideal place." And now we get to create that place of refuge, that place of peace, that place to regroup, that place where Christ is the center in our own home!! 
Yes. Our. Very. Own. Home!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Jesus Wept"

I love just about everything with the rain.
I love the clean, refreshing smell it brings.
I love staring out the window and watching it fall.
I love the coolness it brings to a hot summer evening.
I love hearing the pitter patter on ground, especially when I'm falling asleep.
I love the green growth that follows in a dry desert.
I love feeling of it on my face and through my hair.
I love rain.

But sometimes the rain means something more than water drops falling from the sky.
They are Christ's tears.
He suffered for my pain... my afflictions...
He did it so He would be filled with mercy for me.
And know how to succor me in my infirmities. 
(Paraphrased from Alma 7:11-12)

A week ago Friday when my life changed in an instant, it was raining outside. 

I found our softest Kleenexes, wrote a love note on the box, and headed to the hospital. If anyone has ever shed more than a few tears at the hospital, you would know that their tissues are pretty much like using thin printer paper. They barely dry the tears and they scratch. I knew my Grandma would appreciate something a little more soothing as she experienced the shock of loosing her husband.

As I drove the short distance to the hospital, with my windshield wipers going, I kept thinking about John 11:35, "Jesus wept." He was crying that night with my family... with me. Although death is not the end, it does not make the separation any easier. And Christ knows that pain; He had compassion for Mary & Martha when their brother Lazarus died. He had compassion for me as my Grandpa died.

I tried to help bring comfort to others with softer Kleenexes. But ultimately, the best comfort is found in the Savior. It is found through His Atonement. It is found crying on His shoulder as He gives rest. It is found through His compassion as He weeps along with us.

The rain that Friday night meant much more to me than just rain.
It meant empathy.
It meant mercy.
It meant comfort.
It meant succoring. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

in an instant

A week ago yesterday, my mom and I went in to her parents house. We were there to help take them shopping--just like a regular day. One of us would take my grandmother to the store and the other would stay home with my grandfather. Before our shopping trip, we decided to have a picnic with my grandparents in their living room. We picked up some sandwiches from Subway and I attempted to feed Devin in a stroller. My grandpa ate on the couch with a TV tray in front of him. Really, he sat there and enjoyed the company and watched the rest of us eat. He is a picky eater and did not like his turkey sandwich.

I took grandma shopping and mom stayed home to "babysit." We came home and put the groceries away, then stayed and chatted for awhile. Devin found the stroller (yes it is pink... it is a spare one my mom keeps in the back of her car... I was just grateful for any stroller and didn't care what color it was!), pushed it over to the front door then climbed up in it. He was trying to reach the door handle. My child is definitely a climber and explorer!! Devin also sat on Grandpa's lap for a little while and Grandpa kept telling him that he was so cute. He loved holding Devin and you could just his feel and see love for his great grandson! 
(Terrible picture quality... I know!)
We gave everyone a hug and went home. Life was completely normal. We went on a date and walked around a couple of festivals downtown.

And then it changed. 

9:04 pm my phone rang. My first thought was who is calling this late?! And who ever it is, they are lucky my phone is still on because I normally turn it off about that time when we start getting ready for bed. (We go to bed early because Casey has to wake up so early for work!) I see it is my dad. The conversation went like this:
"Hi Lisa. I have some really bad news."
"What?!"
"Grandpa died this evening and we are in the hospital."
"What?! How?! We were just there today and he was fine!!" (It was like I was trying to convince my dad that he was wrong.)
"He had a heart attack. I have to go. I have to make some more phone calls."
"Ok." And we hung up and I started to cry!
Life changed in that instant. I am so blessed to have spent so much time with my grandparents. When I was growing up, I would always follow my grandpa around and was his little helper. On Thanksgiving, we would always sit together on the piano bench. I just wanted to be with him. And now he was gone. I kept thinking of how grateful I was that I was able to have a picnic with him and one last hug. And mostly how deeply grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation and the Blessings of the Temple. Life continues on. And I will be with my grandpa again!

This past week was spent with extended family and planning the funeral. I was also with my grandma and parents a lot helping to make phone calls, cleaning, making dinner, running errands, etc.

Devin loves carrying around Grandma's cane.
We have spent many hours here and Devin never grows tired of it.
The funeral went well. I was not as sad as I thought I would be because I kept holding onto the knowledge that life and marriage and family does not end in death. I know that I will see him again! But I do miss him! During the funeral, all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren sang a Primary song. We took Devin up there with us and he sang his little heart out. It was cute and thankfully he was making happy noises but he was LOUD. He just wanted to participate and sing with everyone else and he wanted to hold his own copy of the music.
With my Grandma at the funeral.
I knew that Grandma was going to wear a brown dress...
so... we all wore brown to match & support her.
As we drove to the cemetery, it became more real. More final. I was sad and cried. My grandpa was in the Navy during WWII. We listened to "Taps" and watched the flag be folded. It was really neat to watch my cousin (who is in the ROTC at BYU) present the flag to my grandma.
Helping Daddy put away the chairs after the luncheon
It is amazing how life can change in an instant. It is a good reminder to not take it for granted. To slow down and spend time with those we love. To unplug and really listen. To make memories and treasure them forever.

Goodbye Grandpa. Until we meet in heaven, I will cherish all our memories together!
One of those treasured memories....
This was last fall when Baby Bunny was bald!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One More Offer

We placed another offer today. It is a bidding war again. I had an awh-ha moment. Most people bid with pretty whole numbers that have zeros after the thousands place. So... we went slightly higher than the pretty numbers with random digits in every place value. 

And now we pray. Pray. PRAY!!!

This house is not exactly what we want. Ok. The layout does not even come close to what I actually wanted. But it is a house and it is in fairly good condition! It does need a few repairs but really they are pretty minor. The biggest problem is the backyard is a complete weed patch--that will take a whole lot of Round Up first and then some good grass seed. We pretty much won't have any grass this year. 

Here is the problem: interest rates are truthfully rising and predicted to keep going up. I am feeling really desperate. We are about to the point that we have to get this house or we will not qualify for a house--including the other two offers that we currently have right now on short sales. The reason we will no longer qualify for the offers is because of interest rates. The higher they get, the less we can borrow. And the problem with borrowing less is that housing prices are also going up. So borrowing less will ultimately mean no house.

And so we pray for our random digits to out bid all the other countless offers.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Devin's Data: ELEVEN months

Devin was not thrilled to have to lay on his back!

Weight: 21.56 pounds

Height: 30 inches (he is a tall boy!)

Clothing Size: mostly 6-9. If I buy something, I buy it bigger so it will last for a good long while!

Diaper Size: three

Milestones: he prefers to walk everywhere now. He climbs up stairs by himself and I never taught him. I have no idea how he learned! He can step down stairs as long as he is holding my hand. He is very cautious at the doctor's office. He searches for hidden objects, likes stacking his blocks, puts things in and out. He can stoop from standing and stand up all by himself. He waves bye.

Eating: Devin nurses about three times a day. He literally eats everything we do. He eats three meals and an afternoon snack. I don't know if I eat a small breakfast or he has a large one but we eat about the same amount. He loves yogurt!! And anything that he can feed himself.

Sleeping: he goes to bed around 9pm and sleeps until 6:30 am or so. Then he nurses and goes back to sleep for another 1.5-2 hours. He takes a long afternoon nap. And sometimes a super short evening nap but generally not.

Communication: he communicates. But not with words. If he falls and bumps something, he is really good about holding his hand on where it hurts!! This helps me help him so much. He responds very well to my instructions. If I tell him, "time to go," he will come meet me by the door. Or if I tell him to "put it in" during clean up time, he puts the toy away in the basket.

Likes: he loves carrying a spoon with him every where he goes. He also likes cuddling with his teddy bear and blankie. If it has batteries, he loves it and wants it. He likes getting out of the house everyday. And loves giving me hugs all the time. His favorite toy is a purple elephant car that he sticks things in and out of the opening. He likes learning about gravity by purposefully throwing things from his high chair. He likes bath time and playing in the water. He loves playing peak-a-boo!

Dislikes: Devin doesn't like being told no and really hates time out. He tries super hard to be obedient so he won't be told no and be put in time out! He has had two stomach viruses and dislikes having his diaper changed when he is sick because of the diaper rash. He constantly takes his shoes off. I'm not sure if he dislikes wearing them or it is simply something to entertain him while we are driving.

Nicknames: we pretty much call him Devin. Sometimes Baby Bunny. When Casey and I are talking about him to each other, we always call him Baby Bunny.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Devin is amazing at walking and it is so fun to watch. Every time he plays with that purple elephant car, it makes me smile because it is just so cute!! He had his second hair cut. His hair just grows so fast!

Hardest Part: Devin has been sick and just cries. And screams. I just wish he could tell me why he is in pain!! I feel so helpless and try to calm him but it doesn't help.

Lisa's Favorite Part: I absolutely LOVE how affectionate Devin is. When he is playing by himself, he will come get hugs from me. I also love how I have the power to comfort him and he trusts me to make it better.

Casey's Favorite Part: I like watching Devin wave when I come home and I wave to him.


How the photo shoot really went...
Casey was trying to hold him down on his back.
And I was taking pictures as fast as possible.
The "Purple Elephant Car" that Devin LOVES!!
He puts just about everything inside it's "tummy"
and then pushes it around.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Sigh of Relief

We heard back on the house that needs some a lot TLC. With the seller's agent accepting all offers and then choosing the best, ours was not chosen. Someone out bid us. Our agent first told me that he had some bad news. Truthfully I was so grateful to hear that our offer was not accepted. As I thought about it, I did not want to deal with it. There were several problems that we already knew of but I was guessing that several hidden problems would arise as well. I was afraid that some of the problems would be lasting, despite our best efforts to fix them.

Aaaaawwwhhhh! :)

Seriously so glad that we don't have to deal with that gigantic mess!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Life of a Mother

Eleven months ago when my itty bitty baby was placed into my arms,
I knew I loved him. 
Seeing his eyes and snuggling him close.
And knowing that he was mine forever.
I was exhausted but couldn't sleep because I was a mother.

As Baby Bunny's first year has past.
The love inside of me grows even deeper.

His smiles. His waves. His cries.
Coming to me. Sitting on my lap. Refusing to be put down.
Exploring the world. Cuddling when sick. Stacking blocks.
His laugh. His hugs. His love.

Some days are hard and filled with tears.
Some days are spent playing in the park.
Some days we get a lot accomplished.
And others we are grateful to get out of our pajamas.

The life of a mother is not easy.
I am beginning to realize all the hats I must juggle.
But I wouldn't change my life for anything.
The life of a mother is absolutely amazing.
Rewarding.
Eternal.
And I cherish being a mom--each and every day!




Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Safety Net

Yesterday we found another short sale house that was in our price range and the style I want. We wanted to be in primary position with the offer so submitted an offer before we saw it. After our agent had our offer turned in, we went to see it.

The house is cute. Very small. But clean and smells clean and move in ready.

However because it is a short sale, we won't be moving until fall at the earliest with it. I feel like it is our safety net in case everything else fails. Its a back up plan. It is not a 100% safe plan because depending on what interest rates do between now and then will determine if we can actually afford the house or not. As of yesterday, we could. If interest rates spike up, we will have no choice but to walk away from it. But for now, I will think of it as our safety net at the bottom to catch us if we fall because everything else fails.

And (I wish I had a picture!!) while we were there, we let Devin get down on the carpet. He walked right over to the stairs and climbed right up them like it was no big deal. I haven't the slightest idea how he learned to go up stairs because he has never even touched a stair before in his life. Our apartment stairs are concrete with metal railing and it is coming apart so there are gaps between the metal and concrete. And then the other set of stairs are all metal and look like a cheese grater  No. He is definitely not allowed to touch either. But yesterday, he went right up the carpeted stairs like a pro. I was so impressed.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Con-GRAD-ulations!

Last August, Casey officially earned is Associate of Science in Information Systems & Technology. We were not planning on having him graduate with his A.S. degree. But last summer as he was applying for jobs, he was not getting any interviews. One company told him something about being under qualified and that he needed some education or experience to back him up. Well, Casey started looking at his Bachelors program and realized that he had completely already earned his A.S. degree and that it was just a matter of paper work. So he applied for graduation and reentered his Bachelors program. And all of the sudden, he had several interviews. It was a huge blessing!

After Convocation
Walking in to Convocation. Casey loves me!! <3
Devin was such a good boy! I was all by myself with him. He stayed right by me and played with his toys. He liked choosing a toy from the bag.
Walking into Commencement.
The Graduate!!
Congratulations Daddy!
With his mom.
With my parents.
We are so proud of you!
When I graduated from BYU, the stole was worn and then given to someone who has supported you.
I gave mine to Casey.
We decided to continue this tradition.
He gave me his stole and now it hangs on my dresser!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Silent Bidding War

We found another house that we like. Well, mostly like. It needs some TLC before we could move in so that part we don't like so much. But it has the potential to be liked! :)

I placed an offer on it yesterday before Casey had even seen it. After work, we went together to go see it. 

But I feel like we entered a silent auction. Seriously. We found out later that the seller's agent is accepting all offers and then they will choose the one they like the best by Saturday (hopefully!). The problem is there are already multiple offers on the house and they are still accepting more. But the good news is that it is not a short sale. So... this house will likely be under contract by next week.

So we placed the best offer we could. And now we wait and see if our best is good enough or if someone else placed a higher offer.

Will I be devastated if we don't get it? No. 
Am I planning on getting it? Absolutely not. 
But will I be grateful if we do get it? YES!! It is a house that we could turn into our home with some TLC.