Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'Tis The Season

Can you believe Christmas Eve is one week from tomorrow? Are you done shopping? Have you made Christmas cookies yet?

We had a big Christmas party Saturday night, which was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. We went shopping Monday to finish up with our gifts. I now have the green light to make a few cookies, wrap the gifts, watch a movie or two, and try to relax. I am not planning on baking a ton of cookies. I am not making any fancy meals over the holiday week. I am going to try to relax and enjoy the time instead of working constantly.

I love Christmas. I love sitting by the tree and watching the lights. And thanks to my MIL (thanks Margie!) my decorations really look nice and have been taken to the next level. I have not written a Christmas letter this year, yet. I am thinking it might be a New Year's letter. If you have a new address since last year, please email me and let me know what it is.

Merry Christmas everyone! Remember to enjoy the season. Take time to rest, rejuvenate and enjoy.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let It Snow

We had a very nice, relaxing Thanksgiving Day. The weekend ended up being very nice and relaxing. We took the boys to a hockey game Saturday night. I went out early on Friday and shopped. I actually waited in line, outside in the COLD, for 1 hour 15 minutes to get my hubby his Xmas gift. Then Jake and I went back out and got a few more things. Yesterday we woke up to massive snow. This was kind of surprising, as major snow was not in the forecast at all. We had gotten a few snow showers throughout the weekend, but nothing major. It continued snowing all day. Matt used the snowblower at least 2 times, if not 3. It was gorgeous and definitely made it feel like the holidays are near!

I thought about all of you on Thanksgiving. One of the things I am thankful for is all of our friends. We might not see or talk to you all very often, but you mean the world to us and we think of you often. I hope you all had a great holiday as well. Now it is time to gear up for Christmas! YEA!! I love Christmas. Matt got the lights up outside this weekend. We got the tree up inside. As one of my favorite songs goes..."It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

Monday, November 24, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! I know we are a few days off, but I also know most of you won't be reading blogs on Thanksgiving. I am starting to make some food today. I can't believe it is here already. This year has really flown by. I am believing that 2009 is not as hectic and crazy for our family.

What are you all doing for the big day? We are having some family over and just having a nice meal. Nothing over the top. Nothing fancy. But it will be nice to be together. We will put a puzzle together, watch some football and just relax. As the holidays are approaching I realize I have been thinking about dad a lot. It is sad, but I have been thinking about the good time with him, the funny stories, his loud obnoxious laugh and voice, and I smile. He would want us smiling and enjoying this time of year. I knew it would be hard about now, and it is harder than normal, but overall I am doing better than I thought I would be.

I have been reading the Black Friday shopping lists and am planning my attack on that morning. There is something about shopping at the crack of dawn. There is an excitement. There is adrenaline. I love it. I don't have too much to get, so I am not out all day, just for a few hours. I always go by myself. No one ever wants to join me.

I pray you all have a blessed day on Thursday. Enjoy those you are with, those you love. Think of everyone you are not with. We will be thinking of all of you. We love you! Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas is around the corner!!

I am still struggling to realize that in a week or two I will need to decorate the house for Christmas. Time has flown by, this last year. Why does it seem like time moves faster the older you get? The weather has been really nice here, so yesterday many neighbors were getting their Christmas lights up outside. We are headed for that this upcoming weekend. It should still be nice. It sure beats putting up lights in 20 degree weather with snow and sleet.

I have started my shopping. I love online shopping. I get a lot of things online each year. I also save several things and Matt and I take a day and finish up. The hard thing about waiting to shop is that sometimes you can wait too long and then you are out of luck. It is a balancing act, between me (the organize/early shopper) and Matt (the love to wait until the last minute shopper).

The basement is almost done. Praise God! We still have a lot of small things, but we are getting closer.

Matt was selected to the school board. He is excited about that. Hoping to help and make a difference.

Planning the Thanksgiving meal. Trying not to make it too boring...:)

My birthday is Wednesday. I have been sad the last few days thinking about my dad. I realized that this will be my first birthday, ever, that I haven't talked to my dad. The last few I was able to spend with him. I was told I would have moments that would be harder. This is one of them.

That's about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Honey!

November 11th, 1973, a baby was born.

November 11th, 2008, he is the love of my life!

Happy 35th to Matt...the man I love with, laugh with, share with, smile with, understand with.

I could not imagine my life without him. Today I thank him and celebrate him.

This is the 17th birthday I will be celebrating with him. I wouldn't have it any other way!

I love you honey. Have an amazing day! Happy birthday!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Prayers Needed - Again

2 months ago we were preparing to lose my dad. We knew it was just a matter of days, 2 to be exact. We got through it. I think we handled things very well, and seemed to be able to stay strong. Yesterday we were dealt another blow. Life just doesn't seem fair, and my family (my brother and sister-in-law included) is getting tired.

Mark and Teri are expecting their first child in March. We are all so excited, as we weren't sure they would ever want to have children. We went to Mexico with them in June, and when we got back they got pregnant! We were all so thrilled. Teri's pregnancy would make any woman jealous. No sickness, a little bit of tiredness, but that is about it. She has been the over-cautious new mom to be, no caffeine, no alcohol, watching what she eats...Wednesday they went in for an ultrasound to find out what they were having. We were all so excited to find out. Mark sent me a text 15 minutes after the ultrasound began - " It's a boy!". 30 minutes later I got another text - " Are you home? We are coming over. It's not good news."

To make a long story short, they lost their baby. I went with them Thursday morning to a specialist, who confirmed that the baby's skull did not form fully. A big portion of his brain is outside of his head. He does not have a chance to survive. If he did live he would be a vegetable. The portion of his brain that is out involves his sight, cognitive skills, and it could be more as the pregnancy progressed. Mark and Teri were faced with one of the hardest decisions anyone could have. I spent yesterday with them. I cried with them. I grieved with them. Teri is distraught, and rightly so. They can have another baby, with the chances of this happening again slim to none. 6 months is the length of time to wait before they try again. But that doesn't take away the hurt and pain right now for them.

Please pray for them. Outside of Matt and the boys, there is no one I love more. They are our best friends, on top of being our family. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, let alone my baby brother. They know the Lord, but their relationship with Him is not close and strong. I know, with 100% of my being, that this horrible situation is going to draw them closer to Him, if they are open. I am pretty sure they are. God is the great comforter. God will provide them with peace. God will heal their hearts. God is God.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Life is too busy!

I was shocked when I realized that it has been almost a full month since I last posted!! WOW!! Time has flown by. We have been swamped!

Here is a quick run down of the last month for the Barrett Family:

1) We went through dad's things and sorted them out. We took what we wanted. It felt okay.
2) Jake had his first school dance. He originally said he was just going to eat pizza and hang out with his friends. He ran in the house afterwards, said he LOVED it, and he even danced. His recommendation was to not eat pizza and drink soda right before they do the jump dance, where everyone is jumping. I have to say, this has pushed Matt and I to a new place in parenting.
3) Tyler went to Disney World with Matt's mom. He had a blast.
4) Jake went to Omaha to spend the weekend with Matt's dad. He had fun at the zoo and the water park.
5) Matt and I have been in the throws of finishing the basement. He has worked like a dog!! The good news is that it is drywalled, painted, carpet is in, doors and trim are up. The boys are excited to get into their rooms. There is a little left to finish, but not too much more. Matt's deadline he gave himself was Halloween. He should be right on schedule. Impressive. Matt has totally impressed me with this basement project. He has worked relentlessly. He has done a great job. He hasn't been too grumpy, even though he has been exhausted. The basement looks great! The electrical and plumbing are working great and seem to be set up nicely.
6) We just started making Christmas lists last night after dinner. Can you believe it is about 2 months away?
7) Matt is running for school board. We will find out in about 2 weeks.
8) I won a chili cook off contest at the school. The funny thing is, I forgot it was a contest. I just knew I was taking in a crock pot of chili for the teachers for their work day. Next thing I know, I was the winner!! That made my day. But kudos have to go to my mother in law, since it is her recipe!

I am wanting to start blogging more. Don't know if that will actually happen. Once the basement is done I have a lot to unpack and organize. But my goal is to be much better than once a month.

Monday, September 22, 2008


The last 3 weeks have been really interesting. Losing my dad was so hard, on one hand, and on the other hand, not as hard as I would have thought. Now that things have calmed down, I find myself thinking of him a lot. I think the song "Homesick" by Mercy Me sums it up. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.

HOMESICK by Mercy Me

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

Friday, September 05, 2008

John Klever

Most of you know that my dad has been ill, for almost 2 years, with cancer. It started out being diagnosed as lymphoma, and was then diagnosed as pancreatic cancer as well. He basically had 2 kinds of cancer at the same time. He was expected to live 3-6 months. He really hasn't felt well for the duration of his illness, but he did have better moments than others. 

Tuesday, September 2 at 6:12am, my dad took his last breath. My stepmom, Barb, brother Mark, and I were all by his side. 

I will post more next week, when I have time to think. But I did want you all to know that he is now whole and healthy in heaven. Pain is no longer part of his life. Sadly, he is no longer part of ours, here on this earth.

I am doing okay right now. I am not sure that reality has hit yet, but I know it will. 

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vandalism + Dad= STRESS

It has been a while, and in that time things have been rather hectic and stressful.

The boys are in the swing of school and doing well. There were a few adjustments to be made, but I think we are headed in the right direction. They are also dipping their hand in sports, with Jake doing a cross country club and Tyler doing flag football. I have to admit that being so busy during the week is not my favorite thing, but it will all end at the beginning of October, so it's really only a month-6 weeks of chaos!

The new house is almost done. We close on it 1 week from tomorrow. We were out there this weekend and discovered the inside vandalized with motor oil all over the walls and carpet. Come to find out, there were 6 houses total and we got lucky that our issues are not worse. They are working really hard to finish it up. We were supposed to have our final walk on Friday, but due to carpet getting installed, we now have it Monday morning. We are so close I can almost taste it.

Monday morning my dad went into the hospital. He is very, very ill again. They went in and put in another stent in his bile duct, but that procedure allowed the dr. to look and make a more accurate diagnosis. That diagnosis is that the cancer is spreading and growing fast. It has more than doubled in the last 7 weeks. He said he has a few weeks to maybe a couple of months, but it is over. The cancer has won. Dad will not make it. The question is how long will he be here. And of course, we don't have that answer. I have been able to realize that feeling you hear about, where family simply releases their loved one and tells them it's okay to go.  I am at the place where I am at peace with this. He is so sick and if he doesn't improve enough to have a few good days, then I pray this is quick for him.

This week has been rather stressful, as you can see. I woke up this morning with the start of a cold. Normally this would be a simple annoyance, but right now this is major, as I cannot go be with dad if I am sick. So I am headed out to buy Zicam.

While dad has fought for 19 months now, and his death is not a "surprise" necessarily, this has been a hard week for me and my brother Mark.  With death so close, it is sometimes overwhelming. I am just thankful that when he goes, I know where he is going- into the arms of Jesus. He will be whole. He will be happy. The sad thing is that he won't be here to be those things with us. 

I will keep you all posted. Thank you for your prayers. 

Friday, August 08, 2008

Everyone is Happy Today!!

Today was the BIG DAY!! School started for both boys. They were so excited! I was so excited! Everyone was happy. The only bummer is that it is raining, so that means no outside recess, but they will get over that! Everyone was ready. Summer was fun, but both boys said yesterday they couldn't wait to get back to school.

For 10 1/2 years I have been a stay-at-home mom. I would not trade that for the world. There are days I would trade, days I'd like to forget, but I would never change the past 10 1/2 years. Staying home was a choice Matt and I made even before we were married. I didn't even think I would do anything else but raise the kids. That doesn't mean it was always my first choice for me, personally, but having kids means you don't get to be selfish all of the time. It takes sacrifice, work, dedication...but let me just say, I am more than ready to have my days back! Tyler is in school full days this year, so for the first time in a long time, I have from 7:45-3:30 to myself. I am sure that time will get filled with lots of things, but right now sitting in this quiet house and knowing I need to clean it, but also knowing the boys won't be here until 3:30 sure feels good!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Camping Pictures

Here are the pictures of our camping trip that were promised.  Matt decided to go overboard and put them in video format.

Quick disclaimer from Matt.
***These pictures are not in any special order and are simply a montage of our family vacation.  At 4-1/2 minutes long, it may be a bit more than you care to see unless you're close friends or family.  Additionally, iMovie needs to have more transition effects available and I got bored with the simple cross-dissolve, sorry.  I did get carried away a bit taking pictures of scenery, but am now considering opening up an account in iStock to post my pictures - just kidding... sort of.  Finally, no comments on John Denver.  The song was just too appropriate not to use and I kind of like it.***

Monday, August 04, 2008


We are back from our last summer trip.  We took the boys and went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. We met up with my dad and step-mom. It was hot, but still a good time. Camping is not my #1 vacation, but it is good family time. We hiked, went to a few Ranger programs, played ladder golf, Blitz, Sorry....all in all, it was a good time.

It was also nice to spend some time with my dad. I realized this weekend that he is very good at acting like he is feeling okay over the phone, but in person it is a different story. It was hard, at times, to see him. He is sick and it doesn't seem like he is getting any better. We had some good chats with my step-mom, but dad wasn't much for talking. He had no energy. He was just a shell of the person I knew as my dad. That is very hard to take in. I have no idea how long he will be here with us. I am surprised he is still here now. But I feel like it will be sooner than later. So I was more than grateful for this past weekend. I might not have that again, like we did.

I will post some camping pictures in a little bit. Right now I have no idea where the camera is.

Monday, July 28, 2008


It is dry-walled and being textured as I type. The photos are just of misc. rooms in the house.

The one to left is in the dining room, with the arches. The bottom picture is also of the dining room.

The pics at the very bottom are of the family room, fireplace/entertainment area, kitchen, and master bed and bath.

We Have a Closing Date!

The house is coming along, and so is our summer! We found out this weekend we have a close date of 08/28/08. It would have been nice to have gotten in sooner, but I am not complaining. I am glad we can get in before Sept 1 so we don't have to rent the rental house for an additional month. It will make it a tight time-frame, since Matt is headed to Chicago on Sept 2, but it will all work out.  I am heading out this afternoon to take pictures. This week they should be painting the outside, texturing the inside and putting trim and door jams up.

We are leaving Thursday morning for our annual camping trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park. I am not a camper, but I do enjoy this annual trip. There is something about being away from phones, tv, computers and just enjoying nature and spending time together as a family. The boys (all 3!) are so excited. We will be there 4 nights. We get back on Monday and school starts Friday, August 8th.

I think the boys have had a good summer. Being in the rental house hasn't been the best, but we have all survived. It will make getting into the new house even better! 

I will post some pictures later today from the house. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Home At Last!

We are home from our great vacation. We had a great time.  Boating, lots of tubing, shopping, a water park, movies...a very nice trip. We also got to spend time with some favorite friends from Mount Pleasant. 

The boys also had fun at church camp (Jake) and a trip alone to Nana and Papa's (Tyler).  We are home until the 30th, when we head up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a short camping trip. School starts August 8th. I think it is fair to say that we have survived summer, and can cruise through these last 2 1/2 weeks. 

The house is coming along. I have to admit I was hoping more would be done while we were away, but it wasn't. And there was probably more done that it looks like. Matt keeps reminding me that it had to go through inspection before more could be done on the inside. They have it roofed, the front and back patios are poured, and all of the insulation is blown and rolled. All of the sheet rock was dropped in all of the rooms, and my guess is that they will start on that today. Progress is being made, and I am learning to be patient. I have to remind myself that they have made amazing progress in a short amount of time.

That is it for now. Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big News

Okay- last time we blogged it was about the house. We did our frame walk today and it looks good. While we are on vacation, starting tomorrow-the 21st, it should get drywalled, roofed and the rest of the cement outside done.

Jake is at church camp this week and Tyler is at Matt's parents' house for the week. I get Jake from camp tomorrow and then Matt, Jake and I fly to Kansas City to go to the lake for 10 days! We are so ready to take a break. I realize we just went to Mexico, but after living in a rental house with no space and 1% of our things readily available, it is time for all of us to get away.

But the big news in our life as of Saturday, July 5th, is that I am going to be an aunt!! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting and I am so thrilled for them!! It seems like maybe a March due date, but we don't know for sure. It is so exciting, as this will be the first niece or nephew for me or Matt. The other great thing is that we are right here, a few miles from them, and will get to walk through this whole process with them. We can be there to support them, laugh with them, and be a part of the baby's life. So congrats to them!!! We love you guys and are so happy for you!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It's Coming Along

Well, it has been 2 weeks since we last updated you on the house. A lot has taken place and it is so exciting. I never knew I could get so excited about wood, screws and plumbing! 

In the last 2 weeks our house has gone from one or two exterior walls to having almost everything on the outside done, including siding, windows and doors. The inside is framed out, the HVAC is almost complete and the plumbing is done. This week they will run electrical and then we go in for our pre-drywall inspection before we head to vacation.  What will be so fun is to come back from vacation and see what has been done.

This whole process has been so great and fun to go through. Matt always said he wanted to build a house because he thought it would be fun. I didn't place much value in those words since he thinks a lot of things are "fun" that I don't think are. This has been! We have been very blessed to work with a great company and a great guy named Micah, who is always looking out for us. 

So enjoy the latest on the house. We will see you in a few weeks. I will probably be blogging this week, but it won't be house related...you have to tune in and check it out. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

House Update

This is Matt (not Deann) - I've hijacked her blog so show you this video.  Actually, our agreement was that I would shoot and edit pictures / video to show the progress of our new house being built and she would blog about it, but she's not holding up her end of the bargain and I got tired of waiting for her to blog about this video.

Don't give her too hard of a time about slacking, she's busy making me taco salad for dinner and I'm hungry and don't want her to take away my food as punishment for giving her a hard time.

So here is our first installment of the progress in the form of a Vlog (video log).

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Colorado Rockie!

Tyler had his very first t-ball game last night. What a great time! He is on the Colorado Rockies team, which he thinks is way cool!

Being the great dad that Matt is, he took a few of the video pieces he taped and made a mini-movie with them, just a couple of minutes. 

We had a very happy boy last night. And of course a very happy mom, dad and grandma. He really is a slugger, and LOVES playing, even if in the middle of an inning he yells over to me to let me know Baxter, the dog, is eating grass! You gotta love 6 year olds!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A bunch of stuff!

Since I haven't blogged in a while, I feel like there is so much to tell you. So maybe I will do this in 2 parts, so I don't overwhelm (or bore) you!

1) We are in the rental house for the summer and we got the old house sold and closed on! What a nice relief. The rental house is small, but we will manage. We are very blessed with what God has given us, so this is a gentle reminder of that.
2) Puerto Vallarta was so much fun, and so relaxing. It was exactly what we needed after the last few months. The funny thing is that we booked this trip long before the house was on the market or that we knew we would be moving. Just another confirmation that God knows what is best for us! There are a few stories for that, but really need to wait until I put pictures with them. Let's just say one involves me, water aerobics, and my new 80 year old friend named Michael!
3) Tyler has started t-ball, and loves it! He has told anyone who will listen to him, that he HAS to play t-ball b/c his mom is MAKING him. Now that he has had 3 practices he loves it and is really, really good at it. His first game is this Thursday.
4) Jake is with Matt's parents right now, having a much needed break from Tyler and getting to do some fun things. We have ventured to the pool a few times, but it really has not been warm enough with the horrible winds we have had. I am believing this will change, SOON.
5) The most exciting news is on the house. We had our construction meeting yesterday. We love the construction foreman. Great guy totally willing to work with us on small things that most people probably don't ask about. The garage and basement floors are poured, and today they are starting to frame!! I cannot wait to see walls go up! By the end of June the outside framing will be done and they will be heading inside. They told us yesterday we will definitely be in the new house in August some time. So now I am believing for the middle of August so I can go to Chicago with Matt for a week. He will definitely be going, since it's for work, but I will only go if we aren't just in the house for a few days!

We have tons of pictures of the lot, the cement, and today the framing. I will have Matt post those things either tonight or tomorrow, for all to see. 

As usual, summer is flying by. Hope you all are having a great summer yourselves. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

End of the Road!

Considering it has been almost a month since I last blogged, I think it is fair to say we have been swamped! I don't have time right now to blog for long, but did want to update you all on what has been going on.

A week from today, May 27th, we close on the house we live in now. We will be moving this week to a rental house for 3 months, while they finish our new home. All has gone well with all of the transitions, thus far, and hopefully will through August.

The kids are finishing up school this week. Tyler had field day yesterday, Jake had his mock trial and field day yesterday, and today is the big science fair contest! Tomorrow is Tyler's choir concert, and then I think we are good to go for the summer. Tyler starts t-ball next week. Swim lessons, vacations, camps...

Matt and I leave May 30th for Puerto Vallarta!! While my life is crazy right now, going to Mexico will come at a great time. We will have moved all of our things, sold the house, and can literally relax. We also celebrate our 14th anniversary on the 28th.

We have pictures of the land, the hole, and all sorts of things. Since Matt is the one in charge of posting those things, it will all have to wait until we are back from Mexico. He is too detailed, and posting things could end up taking him hours he doesn't have until we are back!!

So we are busy, but come June we will have more time and energy to update you on all of the things in our lives. Have a great Memorial Day. See you back here in a few weeks.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


We got an offer on our house yesterday. We accepted. Closing date is May 26th. This is the sequence of events over the last few weeks:

Sometime about 6 weeks ago: I had a weird dream that our house sold and I was dealing with a man from Chicago. (you'll understand more of this later)

Monday, April 14th:
John Laing Homes calls and tells us they will not honor our contingency and that build time is 10 months out from when we close on the house we are in. Too long!

Tuesday April 15th: I go for my morning walk and pray, and feel peace that it will work out, and that I need to go look at other houses.

Thursday April 17th: I go look at houses with my realtor, realize there isn't much out there to buy that is what we want, but go look at a different builder and find a house I love.

Sunday April 20th: Go back out to the model and really start deciding that this might be the house for us.

Wednesday April 23rd: Reserve the lot with Capital Pacific. We have until Sunday to decide if we want to sign a contract.

Thursday April 24th: Realize that there is no immediate pressure to sell the house, so for the first time since we listed it, I relax.

Saturday April 26th: Wake up at 8am to a call saying we have a showing in 2 hours. We get an offer. We accept. We also find out that our realtor knows someone who needs a renter for their house for 3 months this summer, which fits perfectly into our time frame of needing a rental.

Sunday April 27th: Sign a contract with Capital Pacific. We realize Micah, the CP guy we are working with is from Chicago! (weird, I know)

The fun begins. They start on our house in the next week or two. Matt and I get to go pick out of all our "things" for the new house within a week or two. FUN!!! The house will be done by the end of August. School will just be starting, so it should work out perfectly! And through it all I have realized how much God had His hand in all of this.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


There is a little boy named Jack who is sick. He has cancer. I stumbled upon the blog his parents keep up, and ever since have felt drawn to a little boy and a family I do not know. I read the blog regularly. www.jackbrownappeal.org I have shed tears over the pain he and his family go through. They are from England, but are in the US trying to save Jack's life. And today I got out of my comfort zone and followed the Holy Spirit's leading....

As I read the blog today, realizing I had already read the latest post from last week, my heart moved in a way I had not experienced. I felt so drawn to Yvonne, his mother. My heart broke for the whole family. And then, after much debate with myself, I sent his mother an email. I know, is seems so weird, and I felt it was. Who writes a long, heart felt email to someone they have never met or talked to before? I kept it short and simple, reminding her that God is the healer and miracle worker. I told her I was praying for her, and that as a mother, my heart broke for her.

To my pleasant surprise, she emailed me back shortly after I sent it!! I hadn't expected a response, so getting one was amazing. She told me that there have been a few others, like myself, who had written her but didn't know her, but that they just felt led to do so. She credited one particular lady with helping her grow closer to God. And while I won't share her whole email, as it is personal, I did want to share the last little bit with you, to encourage you to follow the Holy Spirit's leading, to open your heart up to the possibility of doing something out of the ordinary.

"Sometimes yes, I get very, very down... especially on days like today when Jack is in pain and just wants cuddles until he falls asleep. Then when I get a chance to look at my email and find one from you... well it makes it all very much easier to bear. I see your email as yet another sign from God, not to get discouraged. You have absolutely no idea how much you have uplifted me Deann, thank you."

God is so good. He is the great comforter. And we are on this earth to be the physical form of His love for people, maybe even strangers.

Obstacles can be for a reason!

My last post informed you all of the latest with our builder. I was very unsettled about the whole situation. I took time to pray about it and felt led to go look at already existing houses as well as some other builders in the community we want to live in. So my realtor and I went out last Thursday and looked. I am so glad we did this, for a number of reasons.

1) I realized that I don't want to move to a different house, unless it can be out at Banning Lewis Ranch.
2) I realized that we are priced very right, and that our house really is upgraded and beautiful compared to what is out there.
3) I went out to a new builder that I bypassed when I was originally looking at BLR.
4) I was able to see that maybe God had used this experience with the new house as a way of getting me to stop and listen.

God always has the best for us. He knows the desires of our hearts and wants to give us those. He has always been faithful to Matt and I, ALWAYS! Even during those times when we sit back and wonder when He would show up and intervene, he always does. The reality is that He is already there, just waiting for us to turn to Him.

What I found at the new builder, Capital Pacific Homes, is a house very similar to the John Laing we were going to build. It has a lot I like better, and a few things I don't. We figure unless we custom build a house we won't ever have a house that is exactly perfect to what we want. This house is in a much better location. Front views of Pikes Peak, on a cul-de-sac, backing to a greenbelt and trails. Price is about the same, maybe a little cheaper. All in all, I really like it. The best part of it all is that they will take our contingency for at least 90 days, and in the mean time build our house. If all goes well we could be in our new home in August or September. With John Laing we are looking at 10 months from when we close and move out of the home we are in now.

We are now faced with a decision. Which house do we build. I firmly believe that God had his hand in all of this, and by have an obstacle put in our path, we were able to find something that works better for us, in almost every way. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Major Obstacle

Well, we have hit a potential snag in the plans, and I must say how disappointed I am. Yesterday we got a call from the builder, letting us know that John Laing Homes had changed their policy, and would not be doing contingent contracts anymore. They will allow us to have our contract for 30 more days, but will cancel it if we don't have an offer on the house. They also said that they would not start building the new house until we had sold our current home. We were originally told that we could go all the way to drywall before we had to have the house sold.

So I have started rethinking what the best choice for us is. The best scenario is to get an offer on the house within 30-45 days. If that occurs I think everything will still proceed as planned. If not, we will have lots of things to think about. If we still list the house, which will be in the prime season, and sell it but have no contract to build, we run the risk of losing our lot and not being able to build what we want. I was walking and praying early this morning and thought we could always look at buying an already existing home, but one that has what we want. The boys got into the school on their own, without us needing to live out there.

Lots to think about. I am a planner, so I am trying to get all the different possibilities figured out. Maybe I should just pray and believe that we will know what to do, and let God do the rest. But it is a frustration and disappointment. So let's all put forth our effort and prayers that a buyer for the house will come in within the next month or so.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Time is Changing

Matt's dad, Rick, retired at the end of February after decades of straightening people's teeth. This past weekend he had a retirement dinner to honor his staff. Matt, his sister Elizabeth and I all went back to surprise him. And it worked!! It had been months of secret emails, secret phone calls, frustrations...but I think it was worth it. He had no clue. And if you knew him, you would know how miraculous this was!

He is one of the most giving people I know, and never wants the attention on him. (I am sure he is not happy with me right now!) We wanted to do something for him, but didn't feel like anything we could do would ever show him how much we love, respect, honor and appreciate him. That is when we decided to just be there for him this weekend. I am so glad we did.

I understand more than I once did about kids and parenting. One thing I don't understand yet is how it feels to have your kids home, once they don't live with you anymore. But seeing and hearing how happy he was that his kids were home made me realize we had chosen our gift to him wisely. I pray I can be the kind of parent to my boys that makes them want to come home and be with us after they have their own families.

The sad part is the house Matt grew up in, since he was 18 months old, is now sold to someone else. So we surprised Rick this weekend, we celebrated, and we said goodbye to an integral part of Matt's memories, and mine as well. I have been around long enough that it was sad for me, too. But everything has a season. We are thrilled for his parents and this new journey they are now on. But I am ever so grateful that memories are stored in our hearts and minds, and not within 4 walls.

So congrats to my father-in-law. I couldn't have asked for a better example for Matt, on being husband and provider for our family. I couldn't have asked for a better father-in-law, even if he wallpapers totally wrong!!! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No news- other than a boy turns 6!

We have made it 1/2 through the first week of spring break. That's right- they get 2 weeks, not 1. We also made it through the big day yesterday, of Tyler turning 6. He had one friend over, we went to lunch, bowled, had ice cream and then they played. Nothing over the top, but he loved every minute of it. We have a rule in our house, every other year they can have a bigger party, and on the off year they can have something smaller, with a friend or two. It seems to have worked out well. They understand it and never seem to mind. Enough with all of these parents who end up spending hundred of $$ on the birthday party alone, not to mention the gifts.

Nothing new on the house. Still waiting on ours to sell, but that's about it. They break ground on the new house in a few weeks. We get to go to the design studio in a few weeks. That will be very fun, at least I think it will. I told Matt we could do a test experiment and have people vote on the different choices we have to put in the house, and see what kind of house our family and friends would pick for us. Then I realized I might have 5 readers, so it probably isn't worth it. I think the DYI channel does something like this, called Blog Cabin.

Matt leaves Monday for Washington DC. He goes every year, and really enjoys it. So it is mom and the boys for the week. We will do some fun things, and I will work some, for the sanity! :)

For some reason I am simply shocked that it is almost April! Times seems to go by so quickly. We are 6 weeks away from going on a work trip to Durango, just Matt and I. We are 2 months out from heading to Puerto Vallarta for 5 days! That also means the boys are out of school in 2 months. Then we head into summer. Where does the time go?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Battle of the Mind

I have spent the last week working around the clock to get our house on the market. Cleaning, reorganizing, painting...and now it's on the market. We have already had 2 showings, with one a good possibility.

I said in my previous post that God has always blessed us when it comes to real estate. We have almost doubled our down payment, by making money from the sale of previous homes. Selling houses is an easy thing for us to do, since we have done it too many times to count!

So I found myself today fighting off thoughts that were of no good to me. Thoughts of "what if it doesn't sell?" and others like that. The good news is that I caught myself. The ridiculous thing is that I was having them at all. Maybe I could have that thought in 4 months if we have no offers or showings, but now? All of this, even after we showed the house twice when it was only on the market 1 day. One of the showings put us on their short list.

So my question today is why the mind is so hard to control? Why, when I am firm in my faith and belief that God will provide and take care of it all, do I find myself having absurd thoughts? When I really think about it, I truly do not doubt God and His power. I know He is my provider. I believe in tithing, sowing and reaping, faith...so why do these thoughts come? How do I stop them?

A side note: my husband is swamped. But as soon as he has time, we will get the new blog up and going about the house. Until then you can read here for any updates. It will be 4 weeks before they start digging. We don't get to go to the design studio for a month, so things will be pretty quiet regarding the house for a while. But I will post more...I have a boy turning 6, 2 weeks of spring break coming up...stories for sure!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Decision at Last!

It has been almost a month, to the day, that we went and looked at home to build. The area we looked at is called Banning Lewis Ranch. You can actually go to their website and check it out for yourselves. It took forever to get the appraisal scheduled. It took even longer to get it back and then make a decision...

There are so many things to think about. We have never built a house before. Ranch style homes are very different for me. The school for the boys weighed heavily on us. The major issues about the house we are in now are very real, and there is nothing we can do to fix them. Increasing our mortgage a little bit is a little nerve wracking. Signing a contract to build with our current house not being sold is very scary.

So....we signed papers today to go ahead and build!!! We are both excited about it. The boys are more excited than we are! We met the general for the house, nice guy. We will go in to the design studio in the next week or two and pick all of the "things" out for the house. That will be a lot of fun. We have a time frame of November 12th, at the latest. It could easily be sooner, depending on weather. It is definitely not a done deal, as our contract with the builder is contingent upon our current house selling. I am not worried at all. God has always blessed us when it comes to houses. But, if it doesn't sell by a certain time, they do have the right to cancel the contract, we get our earnest money back, and all is good.

We will be getting the new blog up and running. It will become a joint effort between Matt and I. I will be doing most of the writing and he will be doing links, pictures, all of the technical stuff I have no clue how to do. You can join us for this journey!

The big decision right now is this:
We will have a stone on one of the walkways in the neighborhood since we are building in the first phase. We get to pick what we want it to say. We have 2 lines, with 20 characters on each. Any suggestions? I am thinking:

Grin and "Barrett"
Matt, Deann and Boys

Please give us your thoughts. We really have no idea.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Crazy busy!!

Will life ever seem to slow down? My life has been crazy lately. The weeks have gone by so fast I thought yesterday was Monday!! ?? We don't have a lot of news on the house situation. We will by next week. We have had our house appraised, to see if we can get what we need to get out of it. We have the lot reserved for the new house. By this time next week I should have a good post with the latest news-to build or not to build.

I am now a mother of a 10 year old!! AHH!! Jake turned 10 on Monday the 25th. Matt's parents came for a few days for his birthday. He had a sleepover with 3 friends and went bowling. They seemed to have had a good time. It is amazing how life changes. The issues we now have with Jake are attitude issues, which I am thinking will be the issues for the next 8 years. The little kid issues are really leaving. Talking to him is so much fun. Spending time with him is getting to be more fun for us, as adults. It is also nice with both boys in school, as it allows Matt and I to spend more time with his parents when they are in town visiting.

My new business "The Shoebox Accountant" is off to an amazing start. I went to meet with my first potential client, who wants to use my 20 hours a week, exclusively. Works for me, since I was only wanting around 2o hours or so. He is willing to work with me, so I can work from home for a majority of those hours. I know I can help him out, which is a great feeling.

The latest on my dad is that the lymphoma is back. The pancreatic cancer has not diminished in size with the chemo, but has just changed shape. He has made the decision he is done with chemo treatments, which I support. He is going to do a alternative form of homeopathic medicine, but it is a magnetic machine??? Not too clear on the details of it yet, but that is the route he has chosen. His quality of life has not been good, so he is foregoing standard chemo to see if he can at least get some quality of life back, even if it is short-lived. As always, I will keep you updated on him. I am sure the next few months will be very telling.

Have a great weekend. I look forward to sharing the latest house news with you. So be sure to check back next week.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To build or not to build- that is the question!

When we bought the house we are in right now we thought we would never move. We always say that, and we always move, usually after we do some sort of amazing project in the house that we love. Once again, we are faced with this decision.

There is a new "community" being built just a few miles from us. It is in Phase 1, which is always the cheapest phase to build in. In this neighborhood there is a huge pool/rec center, gorgeous facilities for outdoor and indoor entertaining, amazing parks and the best part is it has a charter school the kids would go to, which is the top in the city. I actually tried to get the boys in last year, but there was a wait list so they didn't make it. They are on the list again for this upcoming school year, but we haven't heard when we will know.

We found a house that we love! It has almost all of the things we are wanting. The problems we have with this house now are solved with the new house, like Matt having a "shop". We would build it, so we could pick out the things we want and tailor it more to our style. We can do it and barely raise our mortgage payment.

The problems: we have to sell our house. I know it will sell. I think we can get our money out of it without losing money. They will start building right away without waiting for our house to sell. What if our house sells right away and we have no place to live for 4-5 months? What if the house gets done and we haven't sold our current house? Is it worth the risk to lose the $3000 earnest money? Is it worth max $100 more a month on the mortgage to get the house we want, in the neighborhood we want, with the boys at the best school in the city?

If we do it, I told Matt we should make the house building experience our blog, so you all can follow along. I will keep you posted.

Please feel free to weigh in. All opinions welcome! And if I don't like yours I will just take it off the comment section! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I realize I don't regularly blog much anymore. For one thing, I don't have much time to do it. The other thing is that I don't have much to say. So our lives go on daily, with nothing new, which is just great for me!!

I did think it might be a good idea to update everyone on our life, so here it goes:

My dad: he is still doing chemo, which seems to be shrinking the tumors but also is weakening him and killing his bone marrow. This past year has been the biggest emotional rollercoaster that seemed to have stalled my life for a while. So I made the decision in November that until we are at the end, I have to continue on with my life the way I would if he was healthy. I just hit a wall and couldn't keep putting my heart and emotions and life out there anymore, like I had been. And I think he is trying to live life to the fullest while he is still living. The cancer will kill him. We just don't know when. He could be here 1 month-5 years. Who knows! But know I will always keep you informed of any major changes. I feel like we have been crying wolf for a few months, coming very close to losing him, and now he is doing better. I guess that is the nature of the beast.

The family: The boys are great and back in school! Jake is counting down until he turns 10 a month from tomorrow. They are playing a lot of wii! One day, when I can get my husbands help, I will post the video from Christmas morning when they opened it. It is sure to make you laugh! Matt and I are great as well. We have only skied once this year, but are planning a few more days with the boys soon. We are both still exercising and losing weight. He still likes his job and I am getting ready to wet my feet in some small business bookkeeping.

Christmas: We had a great Christmas day! Never mind my youngest son was up almost the whole night. I got to bed at 4:30am, when I knew he was finally asleep. He went to bed at 9 and was up at midnight and pretty much up until about 4:30. UGH!! My dad and Barb came over, along with my brother and sis-in-law. Later in the day my mom came over. A lot of family, but a nice day. We flew out to Matt's parents the next morning, EARLY, to see them. We had a nice time, but I don't think I would want to do that every year. Or maybe go on the 27th instead of the 26th. We came home to a Christmas mess that I didn't have time to get cleaned before we left!! :) But it was okay and worth it to see them. The boys have always been close to them.

I think that is it. Nothing new. It is weird how, after 2 years of being out here, it feels like we are finally fully settled in. I feel like I can breath again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tyler's Book

One day I am going to write a book about all of the hilarious and sweet things my youngest son says. There is something about a cute little blond boy saying things that said by anyone else could make you cry! :)

About a month ago Matt and I were going out to dinner. I came downstairs, hair and makeup done, dressed up. You have to realize that during the week I am not "made up" as much, since working out has become my daily routine. So when I got to the kitchen Matt says something to the effect of how nice I look. Tyler then says, " Mom, you are prettier than an elephant in a chicken suit!"

This morning I went downstairs to get Tyler breakfast. As I was sitting at the table eating my cereal with him, my hair still bedhead, he looks up at me and says, " Mom, you are really pretty, in a messed up way!"