Inside the New Place

Monday, September 23, 2013

After the last post, I've had requests for more pictures of our new place.  Thanks for your interest and for being excited for us!  Had some hesitation to post these, because I don't want you to feel like we're making too big a thing of this.  However, since people (i.e best friends and grandmas: ) wanted to see more shots, this is the easiest way to share.  Plus, this is what's going on in our life, and we're learning a lot about handling new kinds of stress together that I can share more about later. 

 'Before' shots:


Entry as seen from living room with office to the left.  Check out that landing - I've always wanted a stage in my home : )...
Family Room

Inside Master

And now a few 'In Progress' shots --

Kitchen with refurbished cabinets

Stairs redone - isn't it amazing what a nice coat of paint will do?

Old flooring almost gone...

and new flooring going in...

Notice the changes to the family room area (no more ledge, no more nook above fireplace).  Future place for a bookcase or something to left.

The Big News Revealed

Friday, September 20, 2013

In a few recent posts, I've mentioned that we have been busy with a big purchase.  Well, it's time to reveal... we bought a house!  

After looking for about six weeks, we'd submitted unsuccessful offers on two homes in the area.  The second home (Offer #2) was especially sad not to get because it had a sweet, modern pool and a huge yard. 

It turns out those offers prepared us to get the house above (or as I will now refer to it 'The Desert Cottage' or DC :).  Because it had the same layout as the house in Offer #1, we knew it would work for our family.  We also knew the comps so could spot a good deal.  When we submitted Offer #2, we both had separately felt really good about offering a certain purchase price.  We were so sure about our answers on that price, we got a bit confused when Offer #2 wasn't accepted.  We countered but the sellers wouldn't negotiate much - we felt the home was overpriced so we let it go.  Turns out that price was the exact price we paid for the DC.

Back to buying it in the first place, we toured the DC after it being on the market only 4 days.  Good thing too because as we were leaving, another family came to tour the house (we tried to act very disinterested when leaving the property, despite having already decided where to put the Christmas tree : ).  We submitted our offer that night and the other family did too, but thanks to the service and savvy of our excellent realtor, Lisa, we landed it!
Under the hot desert sun.

It has a perfect layout for Caroline.  She'll have her bedroom and full bath on the first floor, and those rooms will be next to the family room and kitchen.  She'll be right in the middle of all the family action.  

Desert landscaping run amok - we change it all...
The house is a diamond in the rough.  It needs paint, new flooring, a BACKYARD (it's all rocks back there right now), a front yard, window treatments and a kitchen re-vamp, not to mention furniture to fill the place.  But we have a vision and that is exciting.

See what I mean about the backyard?

We weren't planning to buy a house this year, certainly not this house.  It wasn't really on the horizon.  But, for whatever reason, we received this special blessing and are so grateful to have this fun, unexpected adventure.  This house is a material blessing but it's also a blessing to have yet another reminder that we're being watched over and that life holds good surprises not just hard ones.

And I haven't seen God's hand just with my little family - after extended periods of hardship and stress, a few relatives have had wonderful answers to prayer this summer.  It's all a reminder that Heavenly Father watches over us with constancy and good things will come.

From Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed.

In spite of this counsel, I know some of you do truly feel at sea, in the most frightening sense of that term. Out in troubled waters, you may even now be crying with the poet:
It darkens. I have lost the ford.
There is a change on all things made.
The rocks have evil faces, Lord,
And I am [sore] afraid.  
No, it is not without a recognition of life’s tempests but fully and directly because of them that I testify of God’s love and the Savior’s power to calm the storm. Always remember in that biblical story that He was out there on the water also, that He faced the worst of it right along with the newest and youngest and most fearful. Only one who has fought against those ominous waves is justified in telling us—as well as the sea—to “be still.”  Only one who has taken the full brunt of such adversity could ever be justified in telling us in such times to “be of good cheer.” Such counsel is not a jaunty pep talk about the power of positive thinking, though positive thinking is much needed in the world. No, Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. But even as the Lord avoids sugary rhetoric, He rebukes faithlessness and He deplores pessimism. He expects us to believe!...

Don’t give up...Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it.... You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.

Happy Birthday, Cousin Ollie, and What I Believe

Monday, September 16, 2013

Caroline and Ivy's cousin Oliver just turned 1!!!!!

Ollie is the only other documented child in the world with Caroline's same chromosomal disorder. Because the first year is especially uncertain for these kids, making it through year one is a very big deal.  This milestone proves what we all already knew - he's a strong kid, super strong even!

Ollie and Caroline have bodies that beat odds, but their spirits are simply unparallelled.

Here's what I know to be true:

"President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “all spirits while in the pre-existence were perfect in form, having all their faculties and mental powers unimpaired. … Deformities in body and mind are physical.”  Physical means “temporal”; temporal means “temporary.” Spirits which are beautiful and innocent may be temporally restrained by physical impediments.

If healing does not come in mortal life, it will come thereafter. Just as the gorgeous monarch butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, so will spirits emerge.

The Apostle Paul said: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19.)

If our view is limited to mortal life, some things become unbearable because they seem so unfair and so permanent. There are doctrines which, if understood, will bring a perspective toward and a composure regarding problems which otherwise have no satisfactory explanation.

Truth: After mortal death we will rise in the resurrection to an existence to which there will not, neither could there be an end. The words everlasting, never ending, eternal, forever and forever in the revelations describe both the gospel and life.

That day of healing will come. Bodies which are deformed and minds that are warped will be made perfect." (Boyd K. Packer)

Finding Courage in the Past

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Written by my mother Teresa.  Kate is my GGGrandmother.

Kate Washington Bacon Wadsworth Kidd (adult woman pictured above) was born in Texas just before the start of the Civil War, and, when she was 5, her father died from malaria he contracted as a prisoner of war. 

Kate married at 21 and had three girls. When they were ages 4, 2 and 6 weeks the oldest two girls died on the same day from measles. A year and a half later her husband was killed when he was struck by lightening. By the time she was 27, she had lost two children and was a widow.

Two years later Kate remarried and went on to have five more children. She was an accomplished pianist and taught music, traveling by carriage to the homes of students. Sometimes she took one of her small children with her.

Kate died at the age of 65 in New Mexico, and is buried at Emma, Texas, where she and her husband raised their family.

When I think about Kate I wonder how she managed through the dark days after losing her babies and then as a young widow. Her future must have seemed very bleak. It's encouraging to know that happiness did return to her, and she raised a large family and had a full life. During some difficult times in my life I've thought of her and how things will get better with time.



Thanks for participating in Instagram Great Gram day - we'll have to do it again next year! 

- Special thanks to the following bloggers for helping to share the idea: 
* Don't forget, Chocolate, MMB and WBMW are hosting the Family Proclamation Celebration.  Follow their blogs for this special event.

Instagram Great Gram Tomorrow

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It's tomorrow - the big day, and more and more people are spreading the word.

Here's how you join in -- 

What: Instagram Great Gram Day

Why?:  Who helped you become who you are today? What made them tick? What if you could learn more about your family and keep track of them, their pictures, stories, and histories online in a social way?  With, you can.  Let's tell everyone about this fun way to connect with your past!

When:  September 15, 2013 - kicking off this year's Family Proclamation Celebration

What do I do on September 15?:  Post your ancestor's picture onto Facebook as your profile picture, and/or a few times throughout the day onto your Instagram and Twitter feeds.  Leave the profile picture up for as long as you can to give others the chance to catch on.

In your status, caption, or tweet, include with the picture:

- The person's name

- How you're related

- A brief blurb on their life if you know it

- This link:

- And a fun little hash tag like #IGGday, #grateful or #Ancestor

For example, I might share this pic -

and write the following in my status on Facebook or as the caption on Instagram:

Vera Verna Carneal (standing on left); my Grandmother! (Isn't she a beauty??); Faithful mother of three who has used her talents and energy to serve and bless others throughout her life. #IGGday #grateful

IGG Day is meant to make an IMPACT and that means your help is key.  Spread the word by sharing the image below and a link to these instructions on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or blog.  

Enjoy and happy IGG Day!

Instagram Great Gram Day

Soaring to School: Episode 2

Friday, September 13, 2013

Caroline comes into her classroom for the first time.  In the background, there's a large raised padded mat for when kids have PT or need to rest.
Couldn't resist several pictures of this little red pony going into her new classroom!

 And now, from the front...

Happy and excited

This is where Ivy starts to photobomb
It's hard to tell, but Caroline started smiling big time, and Ivy liked seeing that smile!


Proud mama

And now, some shots of the campus - I didn't want people to worry that I was taking pictures of random kids, so these are my quick, people-less spy shots:
Down the end of the main hallway - that door leads to where the big kids have their classrooms.  (The school teaches children all the way through age 21.  In 12th grade, they even have Prom and Graduation!)

An outside pavilion.  The gate in the background is for security and it leads to a bus pick-up lane where the kids are shaded while being picked-up.

Other part of pavilion - very tranquil and shaded (and it has artificial grass to not aggrevate allergies - nifty)
Peeking into the library.  You can only see one half of it from here - I didn't go all the way in because there was a class on the other side of the library.
The bus arrives to bring our girl home!
She made it!  Safe and sound.

Isn't this an amazing place?  It's this hidden gem that many people don't get to see.  I'm so grateful to all the people in Nevada's history who've made this opportunity possible for Caroline and kids like her. (PS - the staff is fabulous as well!)

Soaring to School Episode 1

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hope you haven't forgotten about #IGGday THIS Sunday.  Lots of people are in on it so get your pictures loaded and be a part of the day!

When Caroline first joined our family, I never imagined I'd get to say the following - 
Caroline started 1st grade at a real school!

 For pre-K and Kindergarten, a teacher and therapists taught Caroline at our home.  We've hoped she could attend school, and after lots of thought, prayer, and discussion, we found a safe way for her to further her education and have new experiences.  There's a special school in our district for kids who are medically fragile and more severely delayed called John F. Miller School.  It hasn't been a good fit in the past, but this year, she's ready.

Here's a play by play on Caro attending her first day of school (pretty miraculous for a kid who wasn't supposed to make it past her first year, wouldn't you say?):

Caroline's not used to early mornings... (her wonderful nurse who now cares for her at night is behind Ivy)
Because her school is several minutes away, she gets to ride the bus.  Unfortunately, on the morning of Day 1, transportation called and said due to a mix-up, a nurse wasn't on the bus (required for district to provide a nurse on bus for her), so they wouldn't be able to pick her up - meh.  

Oh well, I planned to follow the bus anyway, so we piled in the car... as you can see above, Ivy is excited for her sister, and Caroline is ready to go back to sleep: ).

Here's the school front.  Gloomy day doesn't do this campus justice -- beautiful and state-of-the-art.  I'm excited we get to see this special place.

Caroline with her teacher, who was kind enough to help us in.  Below them is a sign that reads, "All Children Can Learn"

Once she got to school, she went for an assessment at the nurses' office to make sure she's all ready to go.  When we got there, a slight line had formed, so we waited...

Here we see Ivy doing one of her patented curious looks - "What's Sister doing?"

Sweet girl.

Another sweet girl.

Still waiting. Caroline's staring to wake up and get interested in her surroundings.  Ivy's starting to get hungry.
C trotting away with one of the nurses - such a little girl going off into the big world.  (PS - the 'nurses' office' is really more like a modern hospital wing - very reassuring for nervous parents, not that we would know A THING about that...)

Getting in line for a g-tube feeding - Caroline's version of drive thru.

Keep watching for Episode 2 where we see the classroom. 

(PS - Missed you, dear readers!  Last month was a doozy - can't wait to tell you all about it.)

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