Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Snow Day. :)


I don't know why but parent birthdays are kind of glossed over at our house.  We always keep it pretty simple.  Probably because I am not a "party planner" and it's enough stress for me to worry about 5 kids.  Poor Nate.  This year I wanted to try to make Nate's birthday fun for the kids and Nate.  At first it looked like I was going to really tank.  I suggested sledding earlier in the week which he  agreed to but on his birthday I could tell I wasn't really in the mood for all that work.  We tried to come up with something else but finally decided to just go for it.

We drove up South Fork in Provo thinking there would be plenty of snow.  There was snow...but not plenty.  No where near enough for any sledding.  Discouraged we pulled over at the park and got out.  We figured we would just play for a few minutes and call it a day.  At last though, we were smiled upon from above.  We started making snow men and pretty soon we had built our family in snow family form.  We had such a good time and made a sweet memory Nate and I will enjoy when we are super old and grey.  Afterward we ate at Burger Supreme in Provo and then went home.

It turned out to be a great day and just goes to show that things are what you make of them.  I am so thankful to have a good husband who just rolls with the punches and kids willing to make the best of what we've got.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Christmas Day was perfect this year.  The kids all slept until 8am.  In fact, the two babies came to our room before the big kids...though they were close behind.  Here is a picture with some of our favorite presents.  Though, honestly, my favorite present was ....

A real phone.  :)  The Samsung Galaxy 4.  I am surprised how much I love having it and using it.  Though, to be honest, I don't get many phone calls. Haha. 
The aerial view of our super fun Christmas mess...We could do a seek and find out of this one.

This little kitchen was a close second for my favorite present.  I love watching the girls...especially Sarah, play their make believe games. 
I thought that we might get bored sometime by the afternoon...but it just didn't happen.  We stayed in our pajamas all day and went from one thing to another.  The older kids spent hours building Lego set after Lego set.  Nate and I helped a bit with that.  There was no big dinner...just Lasagna..which was perfect after all the parties we had already had anyway.  The day was so relaxing.  I loved every minute of it.  Best Christmas ever.  :)

Highlights of December

We tried to pack in some good memories in the month of December.  The lighting ceremony of our Christmas tree is always a super family event.  I love taking out all of those ornaments.  My favorites are all the one my kids have made over the years.  During the first couple of years there were just a few, but now we have a good number.  Soon I will be able to fill an entire tree with homemade ornaments. 

We had a super fun Grandma Baxter Party seeing lights and Santa at Riverwoods and then making ornaments for Grandma's special tree after.  Those crazy cousins always know how to have a good time. 
Ice cream at Thanksgiving Point was fun.  We were supposed to drive through their lights but the line was incredibly long.....maybe next year.  We still had a good time looking at the ice sculptures, visiting Santa's reindeer and gorging our selves on a Sunday. 

Time for sugar cookies.  I stay far away from this exciting event since I am allergic to air borne flour. From a distance I can see that everyone had a good time making a huge mess.  :)

We hosted the Stalker family Christmas Party.  My first big family event at our new house.  It was super fun...even with camp chairs as furniture.  There was a bit of Lazer Tag to get the party started then on to our house for presents and food. 

Partying with the Baxter Clan meant sledding, food, presents and the time cherished tradition of the nativity.  Sarah enjoyed eating her big piece of snow candy more than sledding...and watching a movie in the van.  She was pretty sick that day with a cold and an earache...so I was impressed with her positive attitude. 

That concludes our pre Christmas activities.  It was a crazy December.  Loved it.  Love our family Folk.  They are truly the cream of the crop. 


David keeps getting more charming by the minute.  He is a super happy kid.  Even with his teeth starting to come in at 9 months, he has still been great.  He went from up on his hands and knees in November to crawling in December.  At this point he is a constant red light alert as he can get around quick.  He makes lots of noise but the only word he actually says is "mom".  Can you believe that?  Hasn't even begun to think about saying Dada.  HAHA.  I am still his world.  I will enjoy it as long as I can. 
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this little kid. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Tingle House and Halloween

     I didn't know what to call this post.  It is a mess of things.  Where to start.  I guess I will start where we left off...the house.  We are here.  We closed on the 16th of October.  Many small miracles led us here and all I can say is that I feel deeply grateful to be here.

     A short story to document the finding of our home.  The week before we went house hunting for the first and only time, Nate gave everyone a blessing for the beginning of the school year.  I also received a blessing that day, in which Nathan said that I would know the right house when I saw it.

     Now, to our day of house hunting.    Sandi had a nice list of houses for us to look at that day.  The house we bought was on the list as a frivolous addition.  We just had to walk inside and see it.  It was out of our price range and I couldn't see how it could possibly be the one.  After all, we were trying to remain frugal in this hunt.  But, the house had everything we wanted in a home...so it qualified as a home we could stay in permanently.  None of the other houses had that.  Anyway, despite that, I really didn't think it was the house.

   Ok...we start looking.  We looked at about 5 houses prior to this one.  I didn't have a bad or good feeling about any of them.  I thought I could live in any of them.  However, in my heart, I expected more.  Heavenly Father said I would know the house when I saw it.  That's what I was expecting.  To know the right house when I saw it.

     So, we drove up to "the house".  I was thinking, why are we here?  There is no way this is the house.  The neighborhood is too nice.  The house is too big.  The house is too expensive.  This is not the house.  We walked inside and I was  just standing by the back door.  We might have been in there for a total of three minutes before I knew this was the house.  Literally, I suddenly had tingles wash over me from the top of my head down to my toes.  I looked and Nate and said "Oh no."  That's how I felt.  Of all the houses, how could this be the house.  The one house that I would never have dreamed of making an offer on.  The house that seemed out of the realm of our possibility.  The one house that it would take true blind faith to go after.

   Small miracles led up to us actually making it to closing on the house.  I won't go into all of those.  We are here now.  It is a wonderful place to be.  I look at my neighbors and think, I will probably still know you and live by you 20 years from now.  We are excited to be here and be here forever..ish. :)

   So that is the story of the "tingle" house.  Here are some pics. There was no editing done to prevent the view of any messes. ;) 
The Office.  I love this room.



Kitchen dining area

Main Floor Family Room

Sarah's room

David's Room

Play Room

Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Master Closet

Ben's room

Down stairs Family Room

Down Stairs Kitchen

Girl's Room

My sewing room/exercise room/whatever room

   We love the house and I feel a little spoiled.  Especially since I have a big left over room to just have as an extra.  Life is good here and we are so happy.  Halloween was superb.  I have never had so many kids trick or treat at my house.  It was super fun.  Ben, Rachel and Emily brought home a huge load of lute without too much walking so they loved that.  Sarah was nothing short of adorable as she trick or treated.  Nate said she was too scared to say "trick or treat" but when people put candy in her bucket she looked at him beaming and said "They gave me candy!"

     Done.  Whew! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Where we are headed....(assuming everything goes as it should.;)

     Well, we searched , we saw, we made an offer.  Today we will sign the contract solemnly declaring that we want to by this house. I would say it was a long road to get here...but it was actually quite short.  Almost too fast.  This house is in a super lovely neighborhood where we will be the poorest people on the block.  It has .43 of property so Nate can build his dream in the backyard.  We will stay here for a long time....which is the best thing about the house.  No more moving...assuming Nate never changes jobs causing us to need to move. We are going to christen it the "tingle" home.  The story about that I might share after everything goes through and we move in.  We will close middle of October.   
    Our current house is scheduled for it's closing September 30.  So, we will be living in my parents house for a little while.  Lucky for them, they are going to be on vacation.  They won't actually have to deal with us. Let's hope everything goes as planned. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I'm Scared of the Dark

     So, this is a "need to be documented" moment in my family's life. I'll just start at the beginning and go from there.
     My neighbor down the road sold her house. She had a very similar house to mine. As I was talking to her about it I whispered.."So, do you mind me asking how much it sold for?" When she told me my jaw dropped. Crazy thoughts started swimming in my head. As you may remember, we bought this house on short sale and during the worst market drop in years. Well, lately things have been improving. So, after 2.3 years in the house, our house has gained a bit of equity.
     I went home and told Nate.  I mentioned that maybe we should think about selling the house. His response. "You're crazy!!!!!" Now, I know why he said that. We spent the first 18 months painting every room in the house. Ceilings, walls, trim, floor boards. And we didn't paint it a neutral brown. I ain't like that. Colors. I love them.
 Old Front Room
New Front Room
Old Kitchen
New Kitchen
Old Family Room
New Family Room
Old Bedrooms
New Bedrooms
     Then, for the last 7 months we (and I really mean he) have put our blood, sweat, tears and money into the basement. Yes, it is finally finished. Anyway, it turned out really cute. The three older kids are down there, which I LOVE! At night, when it is time for bed, instead of going up stairs and being super noisy so as to wake up the babies, they all go down stairs.
Old Basement
New Basement

      Ok. So, back to the story. His first response was "You're crazy." But, I don't give up easily.

     Here is where  I get a little too honest. Whenever I am blogging I debate in my mind how much honestly I should put into a post.  More often than not it is edited...you know...to make me look better.  Well this is not edited.  I read one of my friends blogs this morning.  She said she always tell her kids to own their faults.  There your's...so just own them.  It's ok.  Everyone has them.  Thanks to her wise words I decided to just own it.  This reveals one of our worst faults.  I told him "You know all that debt we have had to suffer with from our university days. Maybe this was Heavenly' Father's plan to help us."
     Now, I won't say how much it is. It is enough to embarrass me. I will just defend myself by saying...one year we actually made less than $12,000 as a family of 4. When I think back to all those years and mounting debt I want to go back to myself then and fix things...but honestly, I don't know what I would have done differently. Worked and put the kids into daycare...which wouldn't have been that helpful.  Besides, even knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have done that.
      So, before you judge me for all that, just know that we were doing the best we could. We were living way below a good wage and trying to get Nate through school. Since then, we added three more kids and plenty of other expenses. So, even though Nate finished school, got a good job, and we no longer use credit cards...we still have to pay them back.  Five years we have been on that road. It's painful. So, when you think we are crazy for selling a house we love and that we just put so much time into, maybe you can imagine the options.  I truly do feel that Heavenly Father made this happen for us. He knew our house would quickly gain equity.  Short of planting a money tree in our back yard...he couldn't have done much better than he did.
     We thought about this option for awhile. We went back and forth. We really didn't want to sell the house. Like I said, we have loved it here. Our kids are happy. We were at the point in our remodel in which we could have put all new flooring in the house or remodeled the kitchen or bathrooms.  In the end, the answer kept coming up the same. Sell the house. Sell the house. Sell the house.
     We put the house on the market 3 weeks ago. I showed it about a dozen times. Torture. I am not a slob, but getting the house showroom clean for people is a pain. Then leaving so they can look at it in peace..well, Mcdonald's made a few extra bucks from me. :) Once school got in I had to show it almost daily. But, let's be honest, three weeks is nothing. We got two offers on the same day and came out with everything we were hoping for, which is saying a lot. Again, Heavenly Father knows what he is doing. We signed a contract to sell last Friday. The family is coming from North Carolina and want to close Sept. 30. Umm...that's three weeks for those of you who can't count. (HAHA)
      So, once people found out we were selling our house their next question was "Where are you going?" My answer..."I have no idea." Nate and I could only focus on one problem at a time. First problem, sell the house. Check. Next problem, find a new house. (Insert blood curdling scream here.) I don't know where we are going. I don't know what we will do in three weeks when we have no home. I have debated living in a hotel. Renting an entire house and paying deposit, first and last months rent, etc...is not very attractive if we only need it for a month or so. But, in my heart I know that miracles will occur. Just as they already have. Blessings will happen because Heavenly Father loves his children. Deserving or not, he has taken care of my family through thick and thin. In good times and bad. He never fails. I'm scared of the dark but I know he is in there with us and he will flip on the light when the time is right.

To Be Continued......