Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Looking for a rainy day activity?

Here's what Norah came up with.  

video

Oh, the things they think of....

(Scott: apparently "stiff as a board" is genetic.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Miracles Happen!


It's been a long time, and this is a long story, so beware of a long post.......

Ok, kids are asleep and I have a quite moment not consumed with cleaning, organizing, or playing with the little ones to update you all on what's been happening. Christmas was wonderful (have I seriously not posted in THAT long? Happy New Year to everyone by the way....) and we've been busy making plans. After serious thought and reflection and lots of fasting and prayer, we decided to sell the house. To put it simply, it just felt like the right thing to do. Which seemed odd at first, since it definitely felt like buying it was the right thing to do a little over a year ago. However, as our wise Bishop counseled during tithing settlement, you cannot second guess a decision that you knew at the time was right. Life takes you in twists and turns, sometimes by design. Anyway, once we decided to sell the house we (okay, I) became COMPLETELY obsessed with cleaning, staging, and organizing the house. Just to give you an idea, here are some things we did:

-Painted Norah's room
-Painted downstairs bathroom
-Organized all closets perfectly
-Organized all (I mean every single one) drawers and cabinets because buyers are nosey
-Hung curtain rods
-Installed 2 light fixtures
-Moved a bunch of furniture and storage to the Browns to prepare for staging
-Removed all family pictures and replaced with prints from IKEA
-Weeded entire yard
-Had city drop off a 3 yard dumpster and filled it (twice!) with random junk, including a huge pile of wood/junk that the previous owner so kindly left in the side yard
-Planted flowers
-Put down bark
-Power washed the house and pavement
-Cleaned carpets (thanks to my sweet SWEET mother-in-law, Barbara, who helped in this and many other areas! In another life, she could be a phenomenal carpet cleaner)
-Organized and cleaned out garage
-Touched up and polished all cabinets (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, linen closet, even the banister....)
-Cleaned every window track, counter, sink, light fixture, blind, air vent, bathroom..........until the whole house sparkled

It was quite the work load. And it wasn't like we were living in a dirty house to begin with. I just wanted it to be perfect, so that the most nosey and picky buyer wouldn't be able to complain about one untidy cabinet or dusty windowsill. And I must say, I think I've become addicted. It's hard to ever sit down without feeling like I should be cleaning something. But with hardly spending a dime and using things we had, all the work was worth it in the end.

So, after our spring cleaning on steroids, we took pictures and listed the house. My mom's dear boyfriend Chuck is just about the nicest Texas gentleman you'd ever meet and came to our rescue and offered to list the house for us since he has his brokers license. I don't think any of us realized how heavy a workload it would be for him....lots of paperwork and running around.....but he certainly has remained true to his gentleman ways throughout the whole ordeal and been extremely helpful. Since Chuck isn't a realtor and doesn't have a realty company we had to get creative on our marketing tactics. I took the house pictures, we created a flyer, and then had to figure out what to do for a sign. Not wanting to go with a glorified garage sale sign, we designed a generic sign and had it made by a company down the street. Jason tracked down a sign setting company to come install a wood post, and tah-dah (as Norah would say)!!! Pro-jo looking sign for under $100! What we really wanted to do was paste a big cheesy picture of Chuck in a suit, but now that wouldn't be very gentleman/ladylike of us, so we resisted the urge.

So, what do you think......... "JCB Realty".......not a bad ring to it. Yeah right.

OK, this story is going on and on. I'll try to speed it up. So after everything was picture perfect we got it listed the afternoon of Wednesday, January 28th. The next day 2 different families came to see the house. To our great surprise one of the brokers called back with an offer, not far off from our asking price! We were.....amazed. THEN, the next morning Jason runs upstairs and tells me in his most excited I'm-a-little-boy-on-Christmas-
morning sort of way that we had received an offer from the other family as well, at our asking price. Now we were......shocked. WE SOLD THE HOUSE IN ONE DAY!!!! ONE DAY! In this market. With this economy. Now that's a miracle. Plain and simple miracle.

In the end, we sold it to a sweet wonderful family for well beyond what we expected to get for the house. And to top it all off they have got to be the most pleasant, accommodating, qualified, and easy to work with buyers ever. Plus, they really want the house and are just in love with it. For me, this is a great relief and means a lot. When we bought it, I thought we would be here for 10 years. Until we had a bunch of bigger kids and were busting at the seams. I would be walking them to school in the morning and making fresh cherry pies every summer. Giving it to someone who was ho-hum about it and had an attitude of "okay, I guess this will work" would have been heartbreaking. Moving out while a family who will cherish it and enjoy it as much as we would have is moving in makes it so much easier.


So, if you're wondering where we are for the next couple weeks, you'd be smart to place your bet on packing, moving, studying for the GMAT, writing application essays, and/or getting all other MBA related application hoopla completed. We'll be moving the end of this month, so maybe March will give a little breather.

It's so funny how life works sometimes. The same day that we sold the house we found out that the job Jason had been waiting on didn't come through. It sounds so weird, but we didn't even care. We felt so blessed already. It was clear to us that there was more than luck involved here, and it makes you feel so wonderful to get that clear confirmation that the (sometimes hard) decisions you're making are the right ones. We're excited for a new adventure, even though it's totally unexpected and unplanned. Amongst all of these changes and adjustments, in a lot of ways we really feel like we've never been happier. Uncertain times allow us this priceless opportunity to recognize the blessings in our lives, and depend on our loving Heavenly Father who one way or another always guides us down the right path.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those family and friends who have been sending kind thoughts and prayers our way--I guess they were put to good use! Yesterday as I turned the corner to come home I looked up and saw the most amazing rainbow. It was enormous, just a perfect end to end rainbow, with our house right in the middle. I've only seen one other one like that before. It literally took my breath away. It was there just long enough for me to run inside and get Jason and the camera, although the pictures do very little justice. We're definitely not sign seekers, but it was too beautiful not to make us wonder. So beautiful that I couldn't help but burst into, "Somewhhhheeeerrrre, over the rainbow, blue birds.........." (not really, although I wanted to). It sure was beautiful though.