Thursday, November 10, 2016

Does the Flag Still Stand For Freedom?




To answer the question/ title of this blog post... honestly, I'm not so sure. Does the flag still stand for freedom? I want to believe it does. I hope it does. But part of me wonders.

The lyrics to "God Bless the U.S.A." have been swirling around in my head this week. Especially the phrase, "Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away." Monday night and Tuesday through out the election day, I constantly kept thinking of "the flag still stands for freedom." Despite how the election would go, that phrase was a comfort to me. I really did not see a favorable outcome of the election, but I was confident that life would go forward.

And truly it has.

Now. Allow me to insert this before I go on. I certainly do not intend to make this a mud-slinging post. Not at all. Nor a post to make known how I think people should have voted. No. We each should vote according to the dictates of our own conscience. And comments to this post will be moderated. So be warned.

Anyway, I keep thinking about the word freedom. Sadly, I think America as a whole gave up some of that freedom on election day. Not because of who won or lost the presidential candidacy but because how people chose to cast their vote.

My facebook feed exploded yesterday and even continues today with comments from friends voluntarily sharing how they chose to vote. Not who they voted for necessarily but why. And that why is what makes me believe that we gave up part of our freedom on that election day.

Generally speaking, the comments I keep reading are the people voted for their choice because they were afraid of the other major party candidate. Not because they believed in the person they were voting for or even because they agreed with the candidate. Simply the vote was cast because they were afraid of the other candidate.

It goes both ways. Some voted for Trump because they were afraid of Hillary's campaign. Some voted for Hillary because they were afraid of Trump's campaign.

Living in Utah, I have even read the comment of some voting for Trump because they were afraid that not enough people would stand behind Evan McMullin.

To vote with fear is when freedom is lost. 

I choose to stand with Evan McMullin and vote based on faith rather than fear. I'm disappointed he lost. Truthfully though, I did not think he would win. But I still choose to vote with faith. I'm not saying that everyone should have voted for him. No. I'm saying the country as a whole should have voted with faith not fear. I'm saying we should have used our freedom instead of simply casting it aside with fear.

I want to believe the flag still stands for freedom. However, my wishful thinking is not enough. I have to do something. We each have to do something. We need to take a stand. Let our voices be heard and stand up rather than shrink with fear. Each American needs to make the flag represent freedom in their own life. And as each person focuses on freedom and faith, it will trickle up to society as a whole.

We have a choice. A choice for freedom. Or a choice for fear.

And I choose freedom.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brownie Bribery


Mr. Devin has talked to me since the day he was born. He would just babble non-stop and now there are times if I'm lucky to say anything because he just keeps talking. Because of his constant mouth motion, it was surprising to me that he has extreme stage fright.

Earlier this summer was his first opportunity to give a talk in Primary. And it didn't go so well. He basically played with the cupboard doors behind the podium the entire time. If I could get him to say anything, he would drop the last syllable of the word and put an ee on the end. He reverts to this ee sound when he is nervous or being cute.

About a month and a half later, he was asked to say the prayer in sharing time. He prays all the time at home. All by himself. I thought he got this. But his prayer experience proved worse than the previous talk. He refused to say anything. No talking by himself. No repeating what I whisper in his ear. He would not fold his arms. Nothing. I just said the prayer for him so Primary could carry on.

Granted his Primary teachers tell me he talks in class. And participates. But sharing time.... Sharing time he is basically just warming the chair while listening. At least he is listening! Forget when he is asked to speak into the microphone, he really doesn't talk much at all with all the kids. He knows the words to EVERY single song they have learned. He sings them at home. But during sharing time, not so much. I'm sure hoping he will grow out of this. But I wasn't sure what to do with him until then. And what if he never learns to open his mouth in front of others--that is a life skill!

That brings us to today. He was asked to share the scripture. Given his past Primary speaking track record, I can already guess what would happen. I needed a plan. Something to convince him to open his mouth and speak the words correctly. No funny ee business. Just repeating after me.

I'm all for intrinsic rewards. Where the feeling of doing a good job and pleasing yourself are enough. But given the situation, extrinsic rewards (aka bribery) seemed like a better option. I'm not above bribery for the moment so hopefully he can have a good experience and eventually find the intrinsic value.

Before church I told Devin if he said his scripture, correctly and with his normal voice, he could have ice cream when we come home. We have tiny cups in the freezer that I can just grab one and give to him. But no. He didn't want ice cream. He wanted chocolately chocolate brownies. Alright. Fine. We can make brownies for the whole family if he shared the scripture. However, if he didn't then no one would get brownies.

As I dropped Devin off to Sunbeams, I told Devin that I would come back to help him with the scripture. I reminded him about the box of brownies we had at home and asked how he could earn them. He told me that he was going to share his scripture, talk into the microphone and use his normal voice.

Still not sure what to expect, I returned at the end of sharing time. We got up to read his scripture.

And this happened when we got home.



Brownie bribery at its finest my friends.

Did he pronounce everything correctly? No. Was he still nervous? YES! Did I have to remind him to not put the ee sound on the end? Yes.

But. BUT did he share his scripture? Yes. And could the other children understand him? Yes!



Friday, September 16, 2016

Feed 'Em When They're Hungry: Finances for the 4 year old


One time recently in Relief Society, a sister mentioned the quote, "feed 'em when they're hungry." I loved it when I first heard it and still love it today! I pretty sure it applies to way more than just food.
Listen when they talk
Answer when they ask
Teach when they hear
Teaching moments pop up all the time with my young Little Loves. But am I ready to act on it? To "feed them when they're hungry?" To share my testimony in the instant because they are asking?

We had one of those moments this morning. Devin wandered in my room, still groggy, to cuddle with me. "How did you sleep?" "How are you feeling?" The normal good morning chitchat.

Then Devin asked me if we could go buy the Paw Patrol truck today. 

Now let me explain what this even means.... Earlier this week, we were at Sam's Club and the "Christmas toys" were displayed. And yes Christmas is still a long ways off--tell that to the stores so my Little Loves won't ask to see the toys! Well we wandered up and down the toy aisles with the intent of not buying anything but rather to think about what the kids might want to ask Santa for Christmas. (Santa loves shopping at Sam's or Costco for Christmas toys!!)Well, we found a Paw Patrol truck.

And allow me just to say that both of my Little Loves are completely bedazzled by Paw Patrol. We do not have cable and so they only get to watch a few episodes that we own on DVD. But they are in love.

Back to the Paw Patrol truck. It was expensive. Like double the price of what Santa had in mind. I explained to Devin in the store that while Santa and the elves are magical and could make anything, we need to choose carefully what we ask for. Because the elves have to make toys for ALL the boys and girls and it wouldn't be very nice of him to ask for tons of toys or expensive ones because that means the elves wouldn't be able to make toys for everyone else. He bought my excuse.

But just because Devin realized that Santa may not be able to make him this expensive truck, does not mean that he let it go. He started begging me to just buy it for him. And to that I calmly told him that we have a budget as a family. And as fun as this toy looks, we can't afford it. I would not say that Devin ever dropped this but he did at least eventually move on.

Now fast forward to a day or two after the Paw Patrol truck at Sam's Club to just a couple days ago. I remembered that Casey and I were talking and praying about signing the kids up for a flu shot research study clinic. I had not talked to Devin about this yet. But Casey and I both felt like it would be fine if we choose to do it. This is a nicely paid research study. I had the idea to let Devin decide if he wanted to participate.

I explained that everyone was getting a flu shot. And shots hurt a little bit. But he had the option to participate in a flu shot study. I explained to him how the study would have to draw some blood and then he would have the shot. I didn't try to sugar coat the blood draw nor make it worse than it really is. I just told him the facts and yes it would hurt some. I then explained that the study is paid. And he would be able to purchase the Paw Patrol truck if he wanted. He thought about this long and hard. Was the little bit extra pain worth the money? He finally decided yes. And honestly this boy is now looking forward to getting his flu shot/ blood draw so he can earn money... a lot of money... enough to buy this overpriced Paw Patrol truck.

Back to this morning cuddling in bed. The first thing he asked me was if he could get his flu shot today. I told him we had to wait to schedule it and I didn't know for certain when that would be.

Then Devin asked me if we could go buy the Paw Patrol truck today. 

I realized this was a "teach when he will hear" type of a moment. So cuddled up in my bed, Devin learned about debt and what the Prophets and Apostles have said about it.

I also taught him how when you borrow money, you have to pay back interest. He had no idea what interest even meant. But he learned. We watched some kid friendly youtube videos about debt and interest. (That I googled right then on my phone....) I explained the videos to make sure he got it. If he were to borrow the money from us (or his grandparents) right now, he would have to pay back interest later. We talked about how if he does not have to pay back interest, he will be able to use his extra money to buy another Paw Patrol character to go in the truck. But if we bought the truck right now, then the interest he had to pay later would make it so he couldn't buy anything else.

Devin is four. And yes I was going to charge him interest. I let it be his decision after he understood the consequences for either choice.

He decided to wait.

So today he told me all about how he would play with it. And dreamed about owning it. And how he is so excited to get his flu shot.




Monday, September 12, 2016

Gummy Bear Behavior


One of the tricks packed away in the church bag for the Regional Broadcast was a package of gummy bears. First off, this is not something that we eat on a regular basis. And while fruit snacks are sort of similar, the novelty of gummy bears and me telling them it is candy, makes it exciting! These were special gummy bears that had to be earned. I explained that to Devin before we even left our home. The only way that he could eat the gummy bears was by good behavior.

The gummy bears only made their appearance twice during the whole meeting. After the intermediate song and again during the closing song. I'm sure the family sitting next to us thought we were crazy to be feeding our kids gummy bears during the closing song. After all, it is practically time to go home! Why on earth are we just now eating the gummy bears?!

For the first half, they earned one gummy bear for every talk that they were reverent for. And by reverent, I mean sitting and doing some activity that was in the reverent bag. We were not expecting silence or even watching the broadcast at this young of an age. The goal was so others around us could hear the broadcast and not be interrupted by our Little Loves AND for them to stay in the chapel. I passed out the gummy bears after we sang the song and then put them away.

The meeting continued. I heard bits and pieces. I certainly did not take notes and do not remember very much. The one impression that I made an effort to write down was not even really about the meeting but rather about being in the right place and doing the right thing regardless of how much I was hearing.

And then the closing song came. I certainly was not planning on letting my kids eat during the closing song. Actually, most of the time songs are when I take everything away. I figure the variety of the song is enough to engage their children. Because my goal for meetings is reverence--not being entertained. But I guess I had not really planned this far in advance. Devin wanted the rest of his gummy bears for good behavior.

Rather than tell him he had to wait until it was over, I just agreed. I figured it caused less commotion. And gave him his earned gummy bears for the number of talks. Well, he immediately wanted to give all of his gummy bears away to the boy sitting beside him. Melt my heart. I made the boy ask his dad first though because I had no idea if he was allergic to something in it. (My brain is now constantly thinking of allergies and ingredients!)

But the boy was allergy free. Devin handed over his hard earned gummy bears. He told me that the boy was being reverent too. Which was true! And with the two of them sitting together, I think they both earned the gummy bears. I gave Devin some more. And Heidi. Heidi also wanted to share her gummy bears with the boy because that's what Devin did. Alright. I gave up on counting the number of earned gummy bears and just gave them each some.

So instead of singing during the closing song, I'm passing out gummy bears and watching my Little Loves act Christlike by their selfless desire to share. Did I learn much from this meeting? No. But my heart was touched. And I'm grateful we were there... gummy bears and all!






DIY: Gospel Art Book PUZZLE


The Gospel Art Book is a fabulous resource. I love having church pictures all together that my Little Loves can look at. It is printed, bound and an affordable purchase.

But let's be honest. It takes my four year old maybe 2.5 minutes to look at it and get bored. If I tell him to turn the pages slowly, we can draw out the picture looking for maybe 4 minutes. Maybe. Somehow, I needed this book to engage him more so it could be his entertainment instead of me.


I was inspired by one of the numerous kid books we own. This was a "mix and match" book where the kids could purposefully make silly pictures and stories. Well, if that kept their tiny fingers turning pages and minds thinking, why not try something like that with the Gospel Art Book.

Attempt One: (Please note... learn from my mistake and DO NOT USE THIS METHOD) I took out the spiral binding and measured to exactly the third point and cut each picture myself. Then rather than rebind it, I placed it in a three prong folder. The idea was great but the use was terrible. I swear I cut them exactly on the line which I measured ever so carefully. However, it was not a perfect cut. And turning the pages would rip and brush against the others because it was not exact.

So I bought another book and went to Office Max. I explained what I wanted to have happened and how all the pages had to be cut precisely so they would turn easily. I had no idea if they would be able to cut the pages so exactly but I was hopeful! And it worked! They used a laser cutter to cut the entire book at once. I was charged around a dollar per cut!! Wahoo. I now had a puzzle book that only cost about $2 more than the regular book.



Reccomended Steps to Create a Gospel Art Puzzle
1. Purchase Gospel Art Book and take to office store
2. Carefully take out binding and keep the cover pages (so they are not cut)
3. Discard (optional) all the text at the front describing the pictures in different languages.


4. Do not cut picture one (Jesus). Instead, once I was home I trimmed off the border then glued it to the back of the front cover. This completely hides/ removes all the text.
5. Have the office store cut all the other pages into exactly thirds. Note: It doesn't have to be perfect as in the exact same size for each third (but I wanted it close) but rather precise with the cut.


6. Place the covers back on the book.
7. Insert the coil.

Tah-dah! A puzzle book for your own Little Loves!


Just a caution... the pages are much more fragile. My almost two year old is not allowed to play with this book yet....





Wednesday, August 31, 2016

You Can Do Hard Things

One of the best things we have done as parents was taking a "Love and Logic" class. Serious. Even better, we were able to take it together and it was free. I love free! But this is something I would be willing to pay big bucks for--it is that worthwhile!

Anyway, one of the things we learned was to not get into arguments with a child. Seems obvious. But at least for me it was not. Devin keeps asking questions to bug me or he tries to argue or whine or complain or beg. He knows it will get a reaction out of me and he wants that attention.

Love and Logic taught us to calmly repeat a short phrase in response to the child's grumblings... regardless of what they say. You just keep saying the same phrase (or mix it up with a few phrases), lovingly, back to them. The goal is to neutralize the arguments while remaining calm. It sounds crazy. But it works. And Devin now responds with, "I hate when you say that!" and drops it. Yes! Parenting win!

These are a few of my favorite phrases I use....
* That's so sad
* Ooooohhh (kind of like a sigh)
* Nice try
* I love you too much to argue
* What did I say?
And my very favorite... that was not learned from the class but rather something I say and realized it fit this argument stopper perfectly...
* You can do hard things

Most important! Remember when you speak any of these phrases, you have to do it calmly and lovingly. With a smile helps!

Let me give you a few examples of this in practice and then I will share my favorite phrase.
But I really want to watch Paw Patrol. (After I already told him no once.)
What did I say?
But Mom! Please! I will clean up my toys.
Nice try.
But I really want to watch it.
Nice try.
Please, please.
I love you too much to argue.
If Devin persists, I won't continue at this point. Instead he gets a count towards going to timeout. Honestly though, he normally drops it by the second or third whine. You can use the same phrase over and over. You can change it up. I do some of both.

Now for my *favorite* phrase in my mom toolbox.


Why do I love this phrase? You can do hard things. It builds his self confidence and I still do not engage in a battle. Here are some examples of what Devin would say when I would use this.
I can't do it. (Said as whiny as possible. You know the voice!) 
It's too hard.
I can't wait.
I don't get it.
I don't want to.
My feet hurt.
It's too heavy.
I'm too tired.
I think you get the picture. To all of these and countless others, I simply and sweetly respond with, "You can do hard things." I don't get into a debate about how he really can do it or it is not that heavy. I don't try and argue with him about how two minutes ago he was running around like crazy. No verbal battles on my part. Only confidence building assurance that he really can do it. And then normally he does it. He knows I believe in him and that gives him courage to try.

And you want to know. I use that phrase for myself as well. When I think of something I would rather not do. Or I'm tired and loosing my patience. I just tell myself, "You can do hard things." And set off on the doing rather than the dreading.



P.S. This skill takes forever to master. I still don't have it down. Sometimes Devin will sneakily engage me in a debate. It takes practice. And time. But try it and stick with it!!



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Temple Attendance for the Youngest of Saints

Yesterday, Casey and I made the time to attend the temple together. Since moving, temple attendance and date night in general, is fairly sparse. So last night was a blessing! 

I excitedly printed some family names to do. Some of my own names! These people want their work done and were longing for it to happen. While I was printing off cards (because I forgot to print them at home), I was pondering how can I involve Devin in this sacred work? He is FOUR years old. Too young to actually attend the temple. Plus, he can't read so doing family history work is something he can only do if I sit there and tell him exactly what to click. But. I really wanted to let him participate because of the promised blessings.

"Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple and stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances.... I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in you life."  --Elder Richard G. Scott General Conference October 2012

This is exactly what I want for my Little Loves. It is a scary world out there. And the adversary is intense! I want them protected and to eliminate the influence.

Well, sitting by Devin and telling him exactly what to click seems like a start. He is participating in family history work, even if he doesn't entirely understand what he is doing. However, I wanted something more. Because he is so young, attending the temple is not an option yet. Only eight years to go. But I did not want to wait eight years for the blessing and protection. I want my Little Loves growing up with it, always.

While we were in the temple yesterday, the thought came to me that I can still take my children to the temple. Anyone can enter the lobby. And if I purposefully leave family name cards that we just completed, then Devin could ask a temple worker to go get them. He could help in the work by retrieving the cards of the completed ordinances. This is exactly what I want for my Little Loves. To instill in them a love for the temple at such a young age. This idea seemed perfect and was exactly what I was searching for.

As Devin was getting ready for bed, he was telling me that he wanted to go to the temple too. It was like he read my mind the entire time we were gone. I asked if he wanted to go on a date with me to the temple so he could get the family name cards. He loved the idea.

This morning, we both got ready in our church clothes. From FHE lessons, Devin understands that you need a temple recommend to go in. He took his "temple recommend" with and off we went.

Upon arriving at the temple, I explain to the sisters in the reception area what we were doing. I asked nicely if someone could go get my cards that we purposefully left here the night before. (Leaving Devin alone in the lobby was not an option.) The cards were intentionally left behind so Devin could have his own temple experience.

Gratefully the sisters were kind and graciously agreed. We sat down on one of the couches in the lobby and read through his Future Temple Recommend Quiet Book. We talked about the blessings that come from attending the temple and how we have to live worthy to enter. I explained how family history and temple work are connected. When the sister finally found my cards, she brought them to Devin and gave them to him. She talked to him for a minute about how he was doing family history work now too (by collecting the cards) and how families are eternal. Her sweet comments meant a lot and helped emphasize what I was teaching him.

It was a wonderful experience for both of us. I am determined to attend the temple monthly with my own family name so my Little Loves can attend as well.


Temple attendance for a four year old!
He took his recommend and we were able to pick up the cards.

So grateful that he already loves the temple so much!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Choosing Forgiveness

Let's be honest. We live in an imperfect world. With imperfect people. Who sometimes speak without thinking. I have so been there. I think we each have. 

I have wished I could vacuum up my words. I didn't mean them. They were said in the moment. Or without thought. But there is no voice vacuum so instead it is apologies.

And it hurts to be on the receiving end of another's blowup. I have been there too. Recently in fact. Very recent. The words filled with hatred and anger. It brought me to tears. When one's words are unkind and untrue, it hurts. Whether written or spoken. It hurts. Inside my heart. And the sting in my eyes. Words cause pain just as much as sticks and stones. But the pain is less visible to the world. So sometimes one might think they can fling bitter words around because you can't see the wounds to the heart. 

But.

I am choosing to forgive.

Not because apologies were offered. And not because the words shared were true.

Forgiveness does not mean I need to change. It means I need to let go. It means letting the Savior heal my wounded heart. It means moving forward with life.

And it means to not be offended. Even if offence was intended. Forgiveness is moving above.

So I choose to forgive today. And tomorrow. And every day. Because people make mistakes. And I can't tarnish my precious time with their wrong doings.



Also... if I have said something that needs vacuuming up, I offer my sincerest apologies. Life is too short to walk around being bitter. And I sincerely hope I am not the cause of another's tarnish. Please choose to forgive if you have found offence when offence was never intended.





Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It's Time for a Reunion! (...oh wait... we facebook...)

I'm 28 years old. Twenty-eight. TEN years ago I graduated from high school. At the time, high school graduation was the biggest deal ever. Now though... looking back... it doesn't mean so much. It was a milestone. For sure! But it was not the ONLY milestone in the past TEN years.

And life has changed.

When we graduated from high school, I just barely got my first cell phone. Facebook did not exist. And gmail required a special invite to be able to create an account. We chatted using MSN messenger or calling the home phone number. As friends when on missions, I sent letters through the mailbox. Life was different ten years ago. And when you stop and think about the technology changes, it truly is amazing! But that is a post for another day.

Saying goodbye to friends on graduation day actually meant goodbye. No one had my brand new cell phone number. MSN messenger was obviously not allowed on missions so although I never went on a mission, I stopped using it too. Just because there was no one to talk to on it. 

I grew up hearing stories from my mom of her wondering what happened to this friend or where so and so was living now. I thought that would always be the case for me. I never could have imagined the boom of facebook.

Truthfully, I had to be convinced into facebook by my college roommates a few years later. I thought it sounded dumb. Reluctantly I made an account. And people that I barely knew were asking to be my friend. Even weirder was when people I knew but they were far from my friend in real life sent a friend request. And slowly but surely the number of "friends" grew.

Well, our time has come for a high school reunion. And somehow the excitement of it is lost. I already know who is living where and how many kids they have. I already know who is still in school and who has been divorced. I already know where they work and what trials they have gone through. I already know their successes, tears, laughs, life.... I already know their life!

There once was a time when high school reunions meant something. It was anticipated and thrilling to finally have a chance to catch up. When I graduated, I thought I would be living in that time. But technology changed. And with that change, I wonder if we lost some of the excitement. We are still undecided if we will even go to our high school reunion. Not because I hated high school and don't want to go back. But because we barely see the point. 







And... just for the record... we did go to our five year reunion.... While we both had facebook, the reunion was before it took over. Haha. 

And before life changed... and life happened.... and new friends happened.... And I'm really wondering why we should even go to our upcoming reunion....




Monday, August 15, 2016

I Was The Stranger

I was the stranger. 
And I felt every sense of that word.
Let's rewind a bit first though.



March 26, 2016.
General Women's Broadcast.

I sat all by myself for the broadcast. I was at our old stake center. It was extremely dark. I stood by the door awkwardly straining to try to find anyone I knew. I don't know if it was because very few people from my ward were at the broadcast or because the room was so dark that I couldn't find them. Likely some of both. I finally decided to sit near the back so someone would see me and come join me. It never happened and I sat by myself for the whole meeting. (And just a note... being by myself is not a terrible thing. I still had no children crawling all over my lap. I was able to concentrate.) However... Knowing that we were moving next Saturday, I already felt lonely. And sitting there made me feel so alone.

At this meeting the topic of "I Was A Stranger" and helping the refugees was introduced. A few things were mentioned about how to help the refugees. One that I remember was that they needed a friend. Now. Lets just be clear. In no way do I consider ourselves refugees. We are blessed beyond measure with a lovely house that is quite honestly pretty close to my dream house. Casey has a wonderful job. And we can afford to keep me home as a full time mommy. No. I'm definitely not in the same boat and can't even imagine. But... in that moment... the only thing I needed with the upcoming change was a friend.



April 1, 2016.
Moving. (And General Conference.)

That morning after sleeping so little the night before in our new house, I woke up crying. I felt so alone. Casey was at our old house trying to clean and finish up. The kids were asleep. And my body ached. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to lift a single box. I was completely drained from loading everything the day before. I was overwhelmed. Exhausted. Alone. And scared. 

What if my new ward was clique-ish and I never fit in? What if my kids don't? What if I never make friends? What if I'm not accepted? What if I never feel at home?

To say I was scared would be such an understatement. I was a stranger.

And then the whole army appeared. More people than I even can remember came to help us unload. We were able to park our cars in the garage that night because these strangers took us in instantly. They moved everything out of the garage and truck and into the correct rooms. Somehow, I'm honestly not sure how, they squished the couch down the stairs. Casey claimed it wouldn't fit. But somehow they wiggled it in and out of the rooms until it magically appeared in the family room. (And just for the record, it is a super great thing that the couch is nearly brand new. Because it is seriously never leaving that room!)

Later that night, blessings poured down from heaven. I was still a stranger.

A dear, dear sister showed up with dinner and salad and these amazing blondies. She thought that we might need a home cooked meal after moving. Words can't even express how much this meant to me. It was so much more than food. It was love and acceptance and comfort. We saved the food for the next day, Sunday, so we could have something to eat when we couldn't go out.

Two other sisters came and wanted to make sure that we had beds to sleep in and basic things unpacked. I was the stranger and they just came. Angels is what they were honestly.



Fast forward a week or two. 
I was a struggling stranger.

The excitement and adrenaline of moving had finally worn off. Casey had gone back to work. Due to General Conference then Stake Conference, we still had not really gone to our ward. I was home with our Little Loves. And once again I was crying. With the timing of conferences, I was not making many friends because we were not attending "normal" church. And I felt alone. I prayed for someone to come to me. I had no idea who I could call for friendship. So I prayed.

And the missionaries came. These missionaries kept coming. We were far from inactive. But they saw the need. And so come they did. So many hours of service. I'm not sure when we became old enough to have the missionaries help us. But service with a smile they did. 

Another day a sister called to invite me to go with her to RS.
I swear someone always sat by me in RS on Sundays.
Hugs.
Kind words.
Text messages.
Treats.
Personal play dates.
Dinner.

The other memorable experience was while I was sitting at a near by park for a mommy and me ward play date. The park is in walking distance to our home but is not within our ward boundaries. We were considering buying a house that was right by that park. While sitting there and chatting I mentioned that we had thought about a house up there. Without even missing a breath, the sweet sister right next me commented how grateful she was that we didn't buy the house near the park. I still felt vulnerable and outsider-ish. But. That day. That comment. Something changed.

I was accepted. I was loved. My kids were as well. We all were making friends. Friendships to literally last a lifetime because no one plans on moving out.

"...I was a stranger, and ye took me in." (Matt 25:35)


Four and a half months later. 
August 15, 2016
The moving dust has settled. The boxes are far and few between. Our old insurance has finally canceled. (Ugh! Insurance....) Weeds have been pulled and air vents cleaned (granted both could probably use it again). Closets are filled. Furniture arranged. Homemade bread.

And truthfully... truthfully we are home. I can't explain it. I don't know what it is exactly. But somehow it just feels different than anywhere we have lived. We are home. Our ward is home. I was taken in. I was welcomed. I once was the stranger.

I am loved.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Prepare and Prevent

Recently, we received a notice on our door stating that our road would be closed for maintenance/ road work. I was confused because as I looked at the road, it looked lovely. The road was in great condition and I honestly had no idea what needed to be fixed.

You see... allow me to introduce you to the roads at our last house. Potholes. Like big enough to swallow your whole tire. Cracks all over the place. The streets were basically never plowed the entire time we lived there. And road maintenance. Ha. That just didn't happen either. And on the slight occasion when it did, the workers seemed to pick their favorites from the solemn course and leave the rest. Serious. The roads were a joke.

1. We had a neighbor that owned a personal snow plow. He was the reason the roads are as good as they were.
2. It is hard to tell... but stare at the road and all the lines in the shadows. They were seriously terrible!
3. The massive snow bank ate part of my dad's truck and Devin was worried!

Now... compare the next picture. I know there are not shadows from the tree or snow... but look at the road. It is SMOOTH!! And this was taken before we were notified that the road needed repairing.



So... why was our new city "fixing" the road when it was already in great shape. And then Casey told me that they are doing the "prepare and prevent" method rather than the "repair and repent." And I thought about that over and over.

Both methods require work. Both require the city to pay the road workers. Our new city required the road being closed and we never had that happen at our last house. In some ways that one day of closure was much more inconvenient than the potholes. Because at least with the potholes, I could still leave my house and not have my car stuck. 

But truly in the long run, one day of dealing with our road being completely closed will be so worth it. The sealant was placed on top. And our road in great shape will continue to remain smooth!

That's really like life. Every choice we make is either keeping our personal road smooth or slowly deteriorating it. And it does require effort on our part to maintain the road but it is so much easier than trying to play catch up later!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Love is... Dairy-Free Almond Poppy Muffins {Recipe}

This morning I was thinking about to our courtship. When we fell in love and married, I had no food allergies. Then we had two children. I couldn't eat walnuts with the first. And dairy with the second. I thought things would improve after Heidi was born but instead the intolerance continued to get worse. And worse. And worse. To the point that even trace amounts of lactose in something will make me sick now. Lactaid pills are no longer effective. Every single item that I put into my body, I have to read the label first. If it contains any milk/dairy/lactose it is a no go.

The other day I was shopping with my mom at Costco. She bought some Almond Poppy Muffins. I have since wanted some almond poppy muffins. Costco's contains milk. I started looking at other stores. Practically all bakery things have dairy, even if it is just butter. I have continued to want almond poppy muffins.

Well today I realized that love truly does continues to grow. Our love when we were dating does not even compare to what it is today. I had heard others say that love grows but I didn't think they knew what they were talking about. I thought the love on our wedding day was real. But today... today... love was shown in homemade, dairy-free almond poppy muffins. Casey had to "invent" the muffins to make sure they were completely dairy free. When we were married, neither of us had ever even thought about having to make special food. And today he did it so willingly--even if it did take a large chunk of the morning to figure out.

And they were delicious. Almond Poppy Muffins at their finest!!


And here is Casey's recipe... written by him. The wording is just adorable!

[ ] 1 1/2 cups of flour
[ ] 2 egg yolks 
[ ] 2 egg whites
[ ] 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
[ ] 3/4 tsp baking soda
[ ] ~1/2 cup almond milk
[ ] 1/2 cup coconut oil
[ ] 1/4 cup oil
[ ] 3/4 cup sugar
[ ] 1/2 tsp salt
[ ] 2 tsp almond extract
[ ] 1 1/2 tblsp poppy
[ ] 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Makes 12- 16 muffins.
Preheat to 350°.
Mix well coconut oil, egg yolks, and sugar in one bowl.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in another bowl.
Add milk, oil, to sugar, egg, and coconut oil mixture.
Spray muffin pan.
Fluff egg whites.
Combine wet mix to dry mix and add extracts.
Fold in egg whites.
Divide into muffin tin.
Bake for at least 12 minutes.  May need more until they turn golden.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Goodbye Decade of Decisions



10 years ago I entered the decade of decisions. TEN YEARS!! So much has happened and changed. And I have grown. It is interesting to look back to all the "milestones" in my decade of decisions. There are a few things... well one thing really that I would change every day if I could. But I can't. So forward I will go.


2006 -- High School Graduation
I was so sad to say goodbye to Casey!
He was my absolute best friend and I had no idea what would happen after graduation.
We went on a breakfast date before Graduation.
This meant more to me than words could even say.
And I cherished this during the hard times that would come in the next years.
Why did it mean so much?
Because I wanted more than anything to walk with Casey.
But it was totally random.
The guys were in a line in one tunnel and the girls another.
There was no way to coordinate this.

2007 -- The Year I Wish to Forget

Yes there are plenty of pictures I could post for this year. But I don't want to. It was a horrible year and some of the most painful moments I ever experienced. I learned a ton and was blessed so much a long the way. But if I could go back and change it, I absolutely would.


2008 -- SLCC Graduation

Because of the massive trials I went through the previous year,
this was nothing short of miraculous!
A.S. Degree of General Studies with Honors

2009 -- Best Day Ever

If it looks like I'm glowing, I probably am!
Remember how I was sad/ nervous/ scared to say goodbye to this
handsome boy at high school graduation?
Now we are best friends forever. Literally. All eternity.
Seriously. The Best Day Ever!

2010 -- BYU Graduation

I did it! Four years later...
My degree was really a 5 year degree.
And somehow I still finished in four.
16 credits a semester and summer classes is how.
I just love this picture...
I love BYU!
I LOVE Casey!!


2011 -- To Be A Teacher

Teaching is not for the faint of heart...
But I truly enjoyed it.
I loved watching when kids finally "got it!"

2012 -- He Named Me Mommy

We named him Devin.
And he named me Mommy.
Life was once again perfect.
My dreams were coming true.
I quit my job to stay home full time.
Full time mommy is not easy but so worth it!

2013 -- First Home

We bought our first home!
At the time, we thought it was our last home purchase.
We planned on staying here forever.

2014 -- He Named Her Best Friend

Best friends of these two would be an understatement!
This is still one of my FAVORITE pictures!
Devin's smile to see Heidi for the first time was as real as could be.
And he has never stopped loving her!
Heidi had a scary beginning!
But she is a fighter and she wanted to be here in our family so badly!
I'm so grateful she made the choice to stay!!! 

2015 -- First Brand New Car

You would think we have a picture of this. It was a big deal. We bought our first brand new car! It was so nice not having to share the car anymore as we also kept our older one. But... I sure can't find any picture. Haha. Signing the paperwork took forever!!!! And by the time we finally left the dealership, I think we were all just done.


2016 -- Second Home (and last...)

This has truly become home.
In every sense of the word!
I never would have dreamed that it would be "home" so quickly.
Two and a half months later...
This truly is HOME!
(And always will be!)
I just love these two!
And I'm grateful for the sudden change that happened earlier this year.
I never would have dreamed we would be here today.
But I love it.
And I would move all over again (even though it was a nightmare)
just so we could live here... live at home!

While I'm sure we will buy other cars and hopefully someday have another Little Love... truly my decade of decisions has come to a close.

GOODBYE DECADE OF DECISIONS....

Now I'm striving to follow Elder Hale's advice from Oct. 2007

After your decade of decision, go onward and upward.... Be faithful.... Be true. Rise up and be worthy.



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.
Family.

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. 

Waiting.


UPDATE:
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.
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