Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013: The year of Miracles

For some reason, in the past years of my life, the even years have been the best. For example, I was born in 1980, an even year. I married in 2002. I gradated from BYU in an even year. First child, and two girls, born in even years. Etc, etc. So this year, I was not expecting anything big. Not because it was odd, necessarily, but because it started out rough. I always seem to get the winter blues. I had January junk that lead to a February funk that could not be shaken. I was overweight, not getting pregnant, sliding down a treacherously steep winter hill daily (literally, perhaps figuratively too?), Tyler was gone a lot (between choir, real estate, work, hobbies), I was losing my cool and just losing hope of ever buying a home of our own. But then things changed.

I didn't start losing weight. And I didn't immediately get pregnant either. Remember the previous post on this blog? It is a list of things I hated/liked about our moving conditions. Tyler and I had, to that date, in 10 years, moved 10 times. Too many! I was getting anxious. Tyler has his real estate license (So use him! Please refer buyers/sellers to him, you'll be rewarded :) ) and had two people unexpectedly approach him about buying homes within two months. It was great. A blessing because we needed the extra money. But with his day job (he clerks for a judge in SLC) he didn't have time to search through the listings, but I did. I had already spent too many afternoons on the couch watching HGTV dreaming of our first home, imagining myself on those shows, thinking of actually applying too. And I loved looking for homes for other people. So I was able to do a lot of the searching. I would scour the MLS, made spreadsheets for these clients, called and made a few appointments, just for any excuse to look at homes. In return, I was learning about the housing market for the time that we wold be purchasing our first home. Around this time I cornered Tyler and made him make a decision about our future, together. Were we to stay in Utah, with a law firm, or try moving to Denver to do law and real estate? We'd been talking about Colorado for years but that prospect kept growing dimmer and dimmer. Then Troy, Tyler's brother, suddenly changed his mind about staying in Utah instead of moving to Denver to try real estate, and that really affected our decision to stay in Utah to be closer to him and less motivation to start real estate with his Dad in Denver. So we decided to stay in Utah, for the betterment of all of our family.

SORRY, this is SO LONG! Good luck to you reading it all!! haha.

So, I got to know the housing market really well here in Salt Lake County. I loved it. Tyler sold a beautiful home to his first client (a law school buddy), that I would have been happy to live in, and it was bittersweet. It made me sad that we couldn't buy one like it, for a great price, as the prices were going up, but on the one hand, it gave me hope for what did exist elsewhere.

Well, I couldn't live like this. Continuing to dream, endlessly, about my future home, that wasn't going to happen for at least another year. We still had one year left on our lease, Tyler kept reminding me. But something big changed, which would ultimately sway, or speed up the process, of needing to move.

My birthday is one of my favorite times of the year. I'm usually over the winter blues by then and I really like to celebrate. So I was finally in a good spot. March 28th. The time of blossoming, new growth, new life.

Then it happened. Miracle #1. Fast forward two weeks, I took a pregnancy test and it finally came back positive. After 9 months of trying I was pregnant! I was only 4 weeks along and the Stoehr's came into town for Tyler's concert. Lori asked if I was pregnant and I lied and said "No." haha. I am not normally so good at keeping secrets. But I was only 4 weeks along and anything could have happened. So I kept quiet. I was excited. Scared. Not really sure. Up to that point, it was very deliberate, the trying part. But I knew if I were to conceive in late March/early April that this baby would be due right around Christmas. I did NOT want another Christmas baby (Jocelyn was born December 27th) or all of my children born so close to each other (4 in 4 months, the busiest 4 months of the YEAR--Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years). I wanted a spring chicken. Spring is the best time to have a birthday. And because we'd been trying for so long I wondered if it was every going to happen. I was happy with our little family with 3 kids. Tyler was certainly content with that amount. I could be happy and stop. Actually, I am surprised he let me try for so long. I think he was hoping it just wouldn't happen and I'd give up?

But there were those few times, when I felt something. I'd felt it before in other situations. It was a feeling, like a breeze, that someone was missing. I'd sit in bed, and I thought, "Oh, no, are all the children here?" I'd count in my head where each one was in the house, and yes, "Physically, they were all there" but that breeze was there too. I'd second guess myself and think, "Oh, we need another dog for Zoey to play with." But I knew that it was a prompting, that there was another person missing. So that was my answer. We were not done.

But I had decided not to try getting pregnant this next month, in April. So I went to Mt Pleasant for the weekend for two reasons. One, to avoid Tyler because it was that fertile time. And two, because Tyler was singing in his first General Conference with MOTAB and he'd be MIA all weekend, leaving me all alone with the kids, which I dislike during conference. So it worked out. I was gone for 3 nights. Surely, we'll miss the "window of opportunity". Well, I won't go into details but......I got pregnant anyway. Before or after, not sure which. Probably April Fool's. I joke that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor because we conceived on April Fool's and I am due right around Christmas Day. Ugh. The month that we should have been more careful. The month I decided to take a break for a few months. The month I DID NOT want to get pregnant, I got pregnant. Miracle.

So about mid-April, I made a list. I like to make lists, mostly to look at, and sometimes to cross things off of. I made a list of pro's and con's for staying in our rental (with the landlords whom we loved!) or try to break our lease and find a home, while interest rates were still so low. After the list sat on our old wood burning stove (aka, counter) for a week, I would just walk by it. Glance at it occasionally, and leave it be. After a week, I looked at it, crumpled it up, threw it away and I had decided. I had decided to be happy with the circumstances I was in. This needed to stop. I needed to stop playing with time. I am no magician and do not have that power. I submitted my will to God (because, of course, there was a lot of praying going on, personally, too) and surrendered to living in the basement.

I decided if I was serious about staying I needed to stop looking at the MLS altogether so I was not tempted with those thoughts. Tyler had already changed his password once before because I was spending too much time on it. But my sister and her husband decided they wanted to buy a home so I began researching again. But a bit more lazily. I was determined NOT to look at the MLS for myself. I had made up my mind.

Then it happened. No later than two weeks. Miracle #2. The weekend I had decided to stop sending myself MLS listings that fit in our criteria of a "good enough" home--a new listing popped up. The best listings usually came on Friday afternoons. Not sure why. This one was listed on Friday afternoon and I received it at my scheduled 2 pm time. On paper (or the screen), it had all the things we wanted in a home, the priorities. Great locale, great commute time, big lot, enough bedrooms and minimum square footage. The photos showed that it was clean and not a dump. But it was out of price range, what we had already been approved for. But I sent it to Tyler anyway. We chat on gmail while he's at work, if we need something urgent from each other. I sent him the listing. All he saw was the  "1/3 an acre" and said I needed to make an appointment ASAP. But I argued that it was too expensive. He said, "Doesn't matter. We should look at it anyway." So, we went right after he got off work. It was a busy week for him. He was recording his first MOTAB album and had recording sessions every night that week. But we squeezed it in. We were the first to see it. To make a long story short, we loved it. It had everything on my printed off checklist. Everything and more (like central vac, double oven, ranch style home). It was exciting.

On the drive back home Tyler called our broker. Asked if there was any way we could get approved for this price. He said he'd look into it. Then Tyler also called his dad, because he always did, when it came to deals. Then he went to rehearsal and I sort of forgot about it. Well, I didn't really forget about it, just tried to. I did not want to get my heart set on this, because I had done that before, and it had been crushed. So I waited. The broker called back and sent an approval letter for our asking price. Tyler submitted an offer that night, after rehearsal, about 10:30 pm. We put in a strong offer. 12 hours after it was listed. The next day our offer was countered and we had until the next day (Sunday) to accept or reject. It was only $2K more than our first offer. But we debated. Was it the right time? The right home? The selling agent texted us later that night and said we had better decide quickly because she was expecting a 2nd offer. And the buyers could accept either one, if they did not accept our counter first. So we decided. Mostly on logic and a little on faith, because we had not talked to our landlord about the lease yet, we decided to go for it. They accepted and we were under contract!

Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed (while Tyler is at choir) and sweet notes from these sweet children. They didn't know either miracles was happening yet. Samuel was sunburned from baseball? Thus, the chapped cheeks? lol. 

The next day was Mother's Day. May 12th. With all that was going on we decided to just celebrate at home. We called/texted both our Mother's and wished them "Happy Mother's Day" and told them the double whamy news. First, we were pregnant. Second, we were buying a house. It was a lot to take in, but soooo exciting. The best Mother's Day gifts ever. I think Tyler probably cooked dinner that day too. Lol. I honestly can't remember. I felt blessed. I felt my prayers were answered. I felt God's hand in it all. His timing is best. I had waited 9 months for another baby. Once I finally decided I could wait a bit longer, truly submitting my will to His, BAM, it came. Then, after waiting (and complaining, and dreaming) for YEARS to get our first home (and jealously watching all of my friends and family buy their first beautiful homes), we got it. I know Heavenly Father has sent us where we needed to go. Elder Eyring's talk from the previous October conference really stuck out to me. About going where the Lord needs us to go. Waiting and praying for those blessings in disguise.

And just a short year later, I am writing about it here. We closed on our house (with only a few tiny hurdles) on June 14th--our 11th move in now 11 years. We sold our lease to another couple (another blessing). I am still pregnant (with only a few minor hurdles) and due on Jocelyn's birthday, December 27th with a BOY (just what I wanted--2 boys, 2 girls). And we LOVE our new home. The kids love it. Tyler loves it. I love it. Even though every weekend there is a project Tyler has had to work on (cutting down a sycamore tree, fixing sprinkling system, wiring the whole house, etc etc) I don't complain because I would be ungrateful for this beautiful home. It's not perfect. On paper it had everything I wanted, and more.....but aesthetically and functionally, it has a bit more to go (the backyard overhaul, the drop ceiling basement, the teeny tiny baseboards, etc). So although, I am a short tempered person I am a patient one. I can wait for them to be completed. As long as our house doesn't burn down or something. Miracle #3 has yet to happen (Cecily being fully potty trained) but I hope that will be the icing on the cake this year, this ODD year. The year that has taught me to really submit my will to God. Really give in to what I want and find out what the Lord wants. I still have a long way to go in that department. I still argue and rebel against it at times. But this has truly been a year, so far, of miracles.