Monday, October 20, 2008

Moved In!

I've received a few e-mails and comments regarding whether or not we've moved in... Yes! We moved in last Friday!!! It's been a busy time, including football games, house guests, work travel and boxes! Lots of boxes! I'd love to say all the boxes were unpacked and everything was in place, but they're not! It's livable! It's wonderful! But I've still got some work ahead of me. Not too much, but I'm anxious to be done with it! :)

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and well wishes!!! I hope all is well!

Monday, September 8, 2008

We Bought a HOUSE!!!

Yea!!! We bought a house!!! We put in an offer last Thursday and the deal was done Saturday!

So… how did all of this come about?

Last Thursday I was in the process of typing an email of homes I wanted to look at over the weekend with our Realtor, Michelle Merritt. I realized I hadn’t written down one of the addresses and wasn’t sure of the house number so I went back online to verify. I tried to look up the address specifically by the neighborhood and the website wouldn’t budge, so I backed out and pulled up my saved search of the Middle School area. It went right through and the first thing on the screen was a new listing! I’d just checked the web at lunch and there were no new listings! So my heart immediately started pounding a little faster. And as soon as I pulled it up and saw the address… I had no doubt it would end up being the right house!

What did the address have to do with it? Well… our new address is 17739 DORCAS Circle. Dorcas is pronounced “dork”–us. One of my first memories of Glen and Karen moving up here was when we drove past Dorcas Circle. I remember thinking it was a funny name and would hate to live on a street with “dork” in the name. It’s made me giggle several times over the last several years when we’d come up to visit and we’d drive by the street. So, of course, the house I’d find would end up being on Dorcas!

As soon as I got through giggling to myself, I called Realtor Michelle and left her a voice message saying I wanted to look at it as soon as possible. She called me back and asked if I wanted to look at it that evening and I said “Absolutely!” I just had a funny feeling I really needed to see it. She called me back to let me know we could squeak in at 5:45, just before both of us had to have our kids at sports practices. She also informed me the listing had just been posted and the other Realtor was quite shocked. There wasn’t even a sign in the yard yet!

There were no pictures on the web, so I had no idea what the house looked like. I can’t explain it, but as I drove straight from the office to the house… I just knew it was the house. My head was flooded with praise and worship songs the whole drive. As soon as I pulled up in front of the house I wanted to cry. It was beautiful!!!

Steve and his parents showed up shortly after I did and we all walked around the outside for a few minutes until Michelle got there. We made mental notes of the outside… It’s fully fenced, the front is full brick and the remainder of the house is a very tastefully done vinyl siding. (Most homes up here are wood siding with little brick or rock on the exterior due to the higher cost of the products in this area.) The landscaping was developed and looked great and there were several good size trees. All a good start!

Once Michelle got there we hurried to the door! As soon as she pushed the door open all I remember is her saying “Oh, Ame!” She knew as soon as she walked in! She’s not only my realtor but one of my very best friends here in Nebraska! She and I have had countless conversations about homes, hopes, wants, have-to-haves, room sizes, etc. And she knew the instant she opened the door! And she was right!!!

As we walked through the house… room-by-room… it just become more and more clear. I knew it, Steve knew it, Steve’s mom knew it… We all knew it was the one! So before we left the house we told Michelle we were ready to put in an offer. Mind you, over the course of the last eight months we have not moved quickly on any potential home purchase. We’ve been very careful, given ourselves time to think and process, time to weigh the pros/cons, time to research, time to pray, etc. This time, it just felt right. I knew. Once we got all the kids situated with practices Michelle came over with the paperwork. The listing hadn’t even been on the market 4 hours when the seller’s received their first offer. Given the current market, you can only imagine their surprise!

I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep that night, but I did. Soundly! The best sleep I’d had in weeks! I woke up before the alarm and was immediately thinking of the house. Going through the pros and cons, wondering if we’d moved too fast, but the idea of not getting the house made me more anxious than the idea of anything else. I prayed and felt a peace and stillness inside. I knew it was all going to be okay, one way or the other.

It was still painful to wait for the seller’s counter-offer and when it came in I was heart broken. Since the home had been on the market less than 24 hours, I had tried to prepare myself for them not to be willing to come off their price much… but given the market, I was really hoping they’d come down. Sadly they did not. The first counter didn’t move them off their asking by much at all and I was prepared for Steve to throw up his hands and say we’d move on to a better deal.

I called Steve immediately and gave him the gist of the counter and then he had to get off the phone to finish a meeting. He had no response at that time and I didn’t get to talk to him again until the end of the work day. It was excruciating to wait for his response and to be able to talk to him about things. And while he was notably disappointed with the counter, he was prepared to counter back! So we did…

We had their response early Saturday morning. It wasn’t great, but it was reasonable and closer to where we wanted to be. So we asked for a second walk through prior to giving our acceptance or counter. We walked back through it that afternoon with Steve’s parents and his sister and nieces. We all went in with specific things to look at, tape measures and note pads in hand.

As we were getting ready to leave I asked Steve what we were going to do. He turned to me and asked what I wanted to do. I told him I just wanted to accept. I didn’t want to go back and forth over another $1500. He said okay and we gave the nod to Michelle and she called the other Realtor with our verbal agreement. We left the house to head straight to Tyler’s football game. We’d barely left the neighborhood when she called to tell us we had it! So we made our way to game and as soon as we got home she brought over the final papers for us to sign!!!

The “SOLD” sign was in the yard before nightfall!

Glen ran to the store once the papers were signed and returned with a bottle of champagne! He poured everyone a glass, including teeny-tiny ones for the boys and toasted our new home! Karen broke out some of her Harry & David’s Pepper Jelly and made this amazing cream cheese dip and we finished our glass of champagne, talked about plans and snacked on the incredible dip! Then we loaded up and headed to Michelle Merritt’s house to receive hugs and congratulatory cheers from a few of our friends! It was all very nice and so sweet!

Steve and I both woke up before the sun was up Sunday morning! We tried desperately to go back to sleep, but it was no use! We got up and went downstairs. I flipped through organizing and decorating books, he made coffee and cooked breakfast and we just talked and talked and talked about our new house.

It’s just so exciting. I knew once we finally had our home it would help fill a small void that being “homeless” (so to speak) had left. And I knew there would be learning in the waiting. And I knew we would appreciate it all the more once it happened. But I still can’t put to words how HAPPY I feel!

There’s still a part of me that feels sad. Owning a home in Omaha, Nebraska, makes living here all the more permanent. And while we love it here and the boys have adjusted well… It makes the fact we’re eight hours away from our family and friends in OKC more concrete. We love you and miss you all so much!

I can’t deny it makes my heart hurt, but the absolute JOY of knowing we waited, we saved, we paid down more debt, we were smart about our decisions and have charted a new course worthy of all the prayers… it’s simply… priceless!

Thank you all for your encouragement, prayers and well wishes!!!

God is Good!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Wow! It’s been a while since I posted. The arms on the clock just keeping moving…

It’s Blake’s birthday week! He turns “14” this Saturday!!! It doesn’t seem real. I was reading a friend’s blog, her son is potty training and she has another baby on the way. It seems like only yesterday I was doing the same thing. Blake was testing the bounds of potty training and I was waddling around with Tyler in my belly!

I spent some time this weekend just watching the boys. I’m so proud of the young men they’re becoming. I watched Blake interacting with the younger kids and loved watching how patient and gentle he was. We don’t see that side of him as often these days. It was a wonderful reminder of the heart God’s put in this young man.

Speaking of God, we tried a new Church this past Sunday. We may go back. The Pastor was on sabbatical and they had a guest speaker. While we enjoyed the guest speaker, we’d like to attend when the main Pastor is speaking.

I’ve had some sincere concerns about not having a church home for the boys and the effect it could have on their spiritual growth. I know it’s affecting mine. We still do things together as a family and watch messages online, but we’re all missing out on the fellowship and learning that goes along with seeing others in action and participating in Youth, Volunteer and Life Group programs.

It was encouraging to realize how much they got from the message. I wasn’t even sure they were paying attention. But they had plenty to share and say afterwards. The message was about the Armor of God. The speaker had props, graphics, a great sense of humor, but ran out of time and didn’t get to the sword. Both boys were disappointed. They wanted to see the sword. They just knew it was real and had to be amazing. It wasn’t all about the props though. They also picked up on the “how”… the speaker told us his wife, as he put it, has this annoying habit of asking “how?” Any time he preaches she wants to know how to implement, how to apply, how to you put it into practice, etc. Well, with each piece of armor he talked about how to put the armor on and how to keep it on. It was really good.

Maybe I’ll share some of his ideas in another post. I hope all is well with everyone! Our hearts and prayers are with all of our family and friends near and far.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My family arrived road weary but happy last Thursday! It was so good to see them!!! That evening I took them to see two homes we'd been going back and forth on for several weeks. I also invited my sister-in-law and a neighborhood friend. Everyone seemed to really like the home and my sister-in-law wanted to know why we hadn't put an offer in on the house already?!

So with bated breath we put in an offer Friday morning. We started our 4th of July celebration with a house offer. The Sellers responded early afternoon. They were not willing to come down any more than $4000 off the asking price. It simply wasn't enough and if that was his one and only final offer... it wouldn't work. So, we smiled at one another and told our Realtor to tell them "No thank you." I was fine the rest of the day, for the most part, and had a wonderful time with my birthday boy, family and friends.

I woke up early Saturday morning heart-broken. I cried off and on most of the morning. Once everyone in the house started to get up and around, I tried to hold it in but it seemed to come out in grumpy spurts...

On a happier note, Saturday afternoon we saw the new movie, Wall-E and took the girls for a tour of the Village Pointe, an open-air shopping mall. We had a fun afternoon. Mom, the girls and I wound down in the basement watching a "chick flick"... :)

Sunday morning we fixed a big breakfast and the OKC crew prepared for the trip home. After they left, Steve and I ran a few errands and made our way by some homes for sale. We came across one that really grabbed our interest and the price had come down putting it in our price range.

I contacted our Realtor to make arrangements to see the home. She called back to tell us it was sold and scheduled to close this Friday. We decided to make arrangements to go ahead and look at the home along with another home this builder had for sale.

It was a beautiful home, a big covered front porch with stone and cedar columns, a nice open layout with great colors and features, it had my drop zone area for the boys and a HUGE garage! We weren't overly impressed with some of the detail work, it was a bit sloppy. But seeing the house definitely got our wheels turning. If we could have all that for less than the house we'd bid on, should we consider building? We’d talked about it before, but never actually sat down with a builder to see what we could do…

In the midst of all this, my Realtor contacted the Seller's Realtor from the home we'd put the offer on... to see if she had any insight. The home had been on the market for a year, it was a divorce situation, the man had basically told our Realtor he expected a low offer and the home - although in great condition - needs updating. Turns out, they were offended by our low offer and felt there was no way we would be able to come to a compromise. The Realtor felt she could get them pretty close to the limit we'd set for ourselves.

So... I've spent a majority of this week weaving and bobbing between having a nice home in the neighborhood I want vs building a home I want in a neighborhood I have no ties to...

I'm mentally exhausted. I'm tired of feeling like all I think about, all I talk about is HOUSES! I don't understand why we're making this so difficult...

When I stop and read this… it seems silly and trivial… especially when I read the blogs of friends that are participating in truly amazing trips and missions, touching lives of people that don't have homes, parents, food, fair wages, etc. and I read updates on people still working their way out from the storms and flooding over the last several weeks and I think how frivolous my despair seems.

I am blessed! And we will find the right home at the right time. Thanks to everyone for there words of encouragement, insight and prayers!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Hello! Hello!

Man, time flies in the summer...

I'm getting ready to leave work, run some last minute errands and make sure the house is ready before the long weekend starts. My parents, youngest sister - Katie, and my nieces - Kaylyn and Kirsten, are headed North right now as I type! I'm so excited to see them! Yea!

When they get here, I'll be dragging them out to look at a couple of homes with me. We've about narrowed it down to one, but I'm really looking forward to my parent's input! And if turns out we buy a certain home, I'll be looking to Katie for some "structural" direction! :)

Tomorrow we have a full day of food, swimming, food, water balloons, food, games, presents, birthday cookies and fireworks planned! Presents and Birthday Cookies??? That's right - our 4th of July baby, Tyler, is turning 12!!! That just seems crazy!!!

Saturday I plan to play and relax and will probably take the "girls" for a quick tour of a few of the nearby shopping arenas!

I hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


It's official... we're homeless! :) We closed on the OKC house this afternoon.

We've got a list of homes to tour this weekend, so I'm hopeful we'll find the right fit!

Hope all is well with everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Still here...

I'm still here! It's just been busy.

We got an offer on our home in Oklahoma City as we were driving down for Memorial Weekend and had it wrapped up before we headed back to Omaha. We're scheduled to close June 19th!

I've possibly found our home in Omaha... just have to work out some details. Any moment my brain is not concentrating on something specific... it wanders to the home search. It's a bit exhausting.

We're surviving the strong winds, rain

I will write more soon! I hope everyone's having a great summer!