Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Overwhelmed With Sorrow & Joy

I have been sitting here for a while trying to control my emotions and it just seems near impossible for me to stop crying for 5 minutes to write what i'm feeling. Please bear with me. Tonight i found out that our dear neighbor, Tom, passed away. My heart aches, my eyes sting, and yet i have such a flood of happiness overwhelming my heart. I'm not going to use any fancy words or phrases, but i'm going to speak straight from my heart about some things that are very dear to me.

When we moved into our condo we met Tom the very first day. He lived below us and he was sweeping the walks when we showed up. That day, a very special relationship blossomed. He was very elderly, and he lived all alone. His wife died 5 years ago. I miss him so much. Seth and i would take him to the store, and we even had dinner on occasion. He really took a liking to Nicci. When she had her surgery...he prayed for her. I'll explain later why that is so special to us now. We took him to the Outback one night, and he sat and told us all about how he met his dear wife, and how much he missed her. It was special. As time went by we invited him to church. He never came. BUT - Christmas of 2006 Seth was working during our ward Christmas Dinner, so Tom came with me as my date. Note the *picture at the top...Oh how i miss him. He was so much fun, he talked to everyone and i saw a brightness in him i had never seen before. It was soon after that we gave him a Book of Mormon. We wrote our testimony in it and also bore our testimony of our Savior to him in person as well. He asked us some questions later on about it, but due to his elderly age and poor health he was limited in his physical understanding of some things. We had grown extremely close to Tom. He heard Seth & i joking once about how i don't cook, and for like a month straight he made us some dinners...they were the sweetest, most humble, and delicious meals.

My heart aches as i write this... i remember his name showing up on my caller ID when he'd call; i remember seeing him on our walks. I remember talking to him about the gospel, running errands with him, and laughing and crying as he would tell us all about his sweet wife.

We became very close to Tom. Not too long ago, he found a bouncy ball for Nicci. He was so excited to give it to her. He was such a sweet man.

Last week an ambulance came and took Tom to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing.

I watched from my porch as they wheeled him away...i was thinking i would make him cookies for his return. It was the last time i ever saw my dear friend Tom.

I got a phone call this afternoon from Tom's daughter. She found my number on a card we gave Tom not too long ago. She wanted to know who i was. She told me her father passed away. I couldn't control my emotions as my heart was aching and the lump in my throat just kept getting bigger and bigger. I was deeply torn between being happy for Tom, or so very sad for myself. We had a very interesting conversation, one that i will cherish forever.

It was obvious in our conversation that Tom had had some hardships with his family. Lets put it this way...his daughter didn't sound all broken up. She asked me if i was Mormon. I said, YES, why? She hesitated for a moment...then she said that 'Tom had never in his life been a religious man and has never read the bible or anything. But she ran across this "Mormon Bible" on his bedstand and it looked as if Tom had read it...the entire thing. He had written notes on pieces of paper he stuck in the book...all the way through it.' I completely lost my composure. Tom had prayed for our little girl while she was in surgery...he had a relationship with God, and he believed. My heart exploded with emotion as i hit the realization that he actually read the most special book ever written, the Book of Mormon. She proceeded to thank me. She thanked me for caring, for being there for Tom, and for simply seeing a man she had never seen. No one in the family had talked to him,... in a very long time. I told her all about the Christmas dinner he was my date to...and about his love for Nicci. She hesitated once again...and then she brought up the Book of Mormon again. She said her 14 yr old daughter wanted the book, for some reason it was special to her. Wow.

I want to bear my testimony of this amazing gospel. Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and King died for us, ... for YOU. He died so that the mistakes we make here on earth can be erased, forever. He forgets them. He guides us. He is so aware of our each individual needs! He loves us. When i say He loves us, i mean, with a love that is completely UN-comprehendable to each of us. I think about a "mother's love" and how His love is even stronger than that. I have such a love and testimony of the temple. It binds us together, forever. FOREVER. Despite the mistakes and even sins that we have committed here on this earth we still have an opportunity to repent and live with our families forever. It's such a profound and beautiful concept. Right now, Tom is with his wife. Right now, Tom is being taught the true gospel of Christ. He is being faced with the decision to accept it or to reject it. I know he'll accept it. I know in my heart that if it weren't for his physical limitations he would have been baptised. Even though he didn't discuss the Book of Mormon too much with us, he experienced something even more important. He felt the spirit bear witness to him of the truth as he read the words of our Lord and Savior. I know he did. He wouldn't have read the entire book otherwise.

I love my Savior. I love the real love that He has for each one of us. I saw the hand of God work in the life of this elderly man. It was beautiful. It was overwhelming. It was sacred. It's hard for me to use something as simple as words to express the experience i had with the the Savior and my wonderful friend Tom. I miss him so much it hurts. I loved him dearly. However, i am filled with an even greater peace and love that he is now in a better place. He is being taught the gospel, he's with his wife, and he's out of pain. I love my Savior. I love this gospel. I can't wait for the day i can give my friend Tom a hug and tell him how very special he was to me and my family.

Reach out to your neighbors. Every single one of them. If we don't, we are missing out on experiencing and loving the divine spirits who we call brother and sister.

I'm really going to miss Tom, he was a very special friend.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ah, Easter Time...

This Easter was so much fun. The week started out kinda shaky, Nicci was in the hospital for a little bit because she has been the ultimate definition of SICK. She had a temp of 105 and was vomiting & coughing pretty uncontrollably. Poor thing. So we spent the week dealing with an adorable sweet sick child, and trying NOT to get it so we could enjoy Easter! On Saturday morning she was doing lots better so we took her out shopping with us and she had a blast! Then we went to Mom & Dad's house (where we had all the Easter festivities all weekend long) and we colored eggs! This was the first time Seth & i have ever colored eggs together and it was the first Easter in 3 years that we've spent with Jeff! It rocked. The only thing was, half way through coloring eggs Nicci started to spike another fever (i think we wore her out too hard on her first day of recovery); but my wonderful Mom laid down with her and made her all comfy cozy while we finished our eggs. When we went home we put Nicci down and not long after we heard her throwing up in her bed...ALL OVER EVERYTHING. Once again, poor sweet thing. Needless to say she didn't go to church the next day. :( I stayed home with her and she slept forEVER. It was so good for her. By the time 4:00pm rolled around she had broke her fever and was doing lots better. (The Easter bunny even waited to come until she was feeling better) What a nice bunny. :) So we headed on over to Mom and Dad's for dinner and lots and lots of fun. Mom had decorated the house so beautifully with loads of Easter Lilies, lambs, and pictures of Christ. It was so special, our house is such a disaster being in the middle of moving, so it was so refreshing to enjoy Easter at Mom & Dad's. The Easter Bunny even found us at their house, once again...smart bunny! When Nicci walked in she saw what the Easter Bunny had brought her, and it was so fun to see her eyes light up and sparkle. We are so blessed with such a special little girl. We had such a special Easter, coloring eggs, discussing church over dinner, laughing, creating memories, reading scriptures about the atonement, and praying as a family...it was so wonderful. Easter is such a special time of year; we are so very grateful for our kind and loving Savior.

WARNING: There are A LOT of pictures. They were just SO cute we couldn't

Nicci is playing with my Easter basket i had growing up!
----Coloring Eggs----

-----And this is -US- in a nutshell-----

-----The Easter Bunny Came-----

Do you think Nicci likes Dora??

I think the Easter Bunny was aware of Jeff's Penguin obsession. :)

We got a basket too! It was lovely.

Nicci LOVED her new Radio Flyer wagon! She used to take rides in the hospital after her surgery in these wagons. She LOVED it. She also loves her new Dora nightgown & pillow...can you tell? :)

-----Eggs Eggs, & Nicci's first Easter Egg Hunt-----

Nicci & Mom made an egg together...SO CUTE!

We had a contest for the "Best Colored/Most Creative Egg" and Dad was the judge. It's NO surprise that Seth won! He made a "Nicci & Jeff" egg. Most of you know that Nicci has an absolute crush on Jeff, and always gets so giddy around him. Seth has an amazing artistic ability and he captured them both SO well on eggs that there was NO hesitation...Seth was the winner!!

Nicci is starting her Egg Hunt!!

We had such a wonderful Easter. It was so special to spend the weekend with family. We love you Mom, Dad, & Jeff!
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day - UPS Style

It's been a while since Seth & I got all dressed up and went out, and we've forgotten how much fun it is! Last night we took one of Seth's clients (a husband & wife that are both part owners of the company) out to eat at Hugo's Cellar and it was a fun, but interesting experience. I've never eaten at Hugo's Cellar and so when we got there, i was a bit surprised. You walk downstairs into the restaurant and it feels like you're eating dinner in a wine cellar. It was interesting. As you walk in they hand all the ladies fresh long stem red roses and you get to put them in a vase while you eat, and then after dinner you get to take it home. (I love roses so i was very excited about this!) Before dinner Seth explained to me that this would probably not be a dinner that i'm used to because it was business, and so at times it might not feel like a warm & fuzzy meal. I didn't think anything of it. Well, after 3 very LONG hours of listening to this woman and Seth go over and over what kind of service is expected from UPS and more, i had lost complete feeling in my legs, my neck was throbbing from holding it in a proper position, and my back was aching so bad i was convinced i would never walk again!! However, i just sat there gaining more and more respect for my husband as he handled this lady like a CHAMP! I was shocked at how well he did business with her and how he ultimately made her VERY happy in the end. Seth loves to care for his clients and gives them the best service he can, and last night i could see his love for doing so. I didn't talk all that much unless i was trying to make conversation outside of UPS once in a while, but i did add a little bit of entertainment to lighten the mood a bit! They made our salads right in front of us and asked us what we wanted on it. They asked me if i wanted Anchovies, and i realized i had never tasted one. So i voiced the fact and our waiter gave me a HUGE piece of it to try. I didn't think to cut it up...oh no, instead i put the ENTIRE thing in my mouth. That's right. I did it too fast for anyone to stop me...and then i realized what i had done. I seriously thought i was going to throw up right in front of Seth's big clients. I grabbed my glass of water as everyone was hysterically laughing and i swallowed it...i did it quite graceful actually. lol. It was terrible! But the couple thought it was very funny and very "BRAVE" of me to do. So it all worked out great in the end, i will just never, as long as i live, eat another Anchovy!

To sum up the evening- getting all dressed up together was a lot of fun, the couple we took out were pleasantly interesting and i feel like i learned a lot from them, dinner was way too expensive for the quality of food (i'd much rather of been eating my Dad's steak and my Mom's Orange Glazed Beets), i gained a whole new respect for my Seth and his job (he literally rocks at what he does and seems to love every minute of it), next time we go out for a business dinner i might request we get a booth rather than hard chairs, i loved getting a rose at dinner, and the best part of all- i fell even more in love with my sweet hard working husband as i took a little glimpse into the world he lives in while i'm at home with our adorable daughter everyday.
It was fun. It was different. And i loved it.

Happy St. Patty's Day

Friday, March 14, 2008

The NEW Addition To Our Little Family!

Since we've been married we've been a one car family. It has always worked out great, but then with Seth's new job and his schooling...he always has it. There's been times Nicci and I are just at home doing nothing when we could be out getting SO much accomplished...but we have no car! My mom has gotten a car seat in her car for Nicci and has been such an angel with taking us to the store, the Dr.s, the bank, and just running us to her house or wherever when we need to get out. But now we live 30 min away from Mom... :( and the whole no car thing wasn't going to fly! Soooo, my adorable sweet husband brought up the fact that he wanted to get me a car so that i could run my errands and go see my mom whenever i wanted to!! So for the past couple weeks we've been looking at cars. Ok, so... anyone that knows me knows that i'm absolutely obsessed with Jeeps. I grew up with Jeeps and i think they are the most amazing SUVs. We laugh all the time about when 'Brandi will get her Jeep' ... and the other night Seth said to me out of the blue, "Why don't we get you your Jeep??" At first i thought he was kidding! And then when i realized he was serious i embraced the idea and didn't argue with the adorable man! So, obviously, we started looking at Jeeps, and last night...ladies and gentleman....we found one!!! We found a beautiful Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited! Can i just say how very much i love my husband. Looking at cars has never been so much fun. He made this experience so special for me AND he even special ordered my favorite Las Vegas licence plate personalized to say "4MYGL" !! I was so excited last night i could hardly sleep. He was so cute this morning; he was so excited about our new Jeep he took it to work today! We are SO excited to finally have a second car! I am no longer stranded at home making lists all day, i can actually go out and accomplish my lists!! When we bought our new home i kept asking my mom, "You're going to come visit me right??" And she'd respond, "Well yes Brandi, but not everyday honey!" So now i can go see HER as much as i'd LIKE!!! Mu-hahahaha! (Be prepared mom... :) Here are some pictures of our beautiful second car...the Jeep!

Seth had me sign as the "Buyer" and he signed as "Co-buyer"...it was so fun!!
Here she is!!

I'm talking to my mom on the phone telling her the exciting news!
I have the sweetest husband in the entire world! (but hey, i'm a little bias :)
The jeep even has Navigation and a DVD player so Nics can watch 'Dora' when we go for rides!!
The most important part...Nicci approves!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Day We Knew...

We were so busy painting our house yesterday i didn't have five seconds to sit down at the computer and quickly write about the significance of the day 3 years ago (March 10, 2005). We are painting our house still...as we speak...but Seth gave me a 10 min blogging break! :) Yesterday (March 10) it had been 3 years since Seth and i had been together. It was really fun to sit and remember that amazing day and look at everything we have been through together since then. If someone would have told us that 3 years from then we would have the most amazing little girl and be painting our very own home, i think we would have passed out! Here is how that amazing day, 3 years ago, unfolded...
I was going to school at UNLV and had a couple hours break in between classes, so i went to the Institute to play some ping pong. While playing a very fun round of 'Around the World' i pulled a muscle in my back; i could hardly breathe, it hurt so bad! I went into one of the offices and laid down on the couch hoping to feel better for my next class. Well, I didn't feel any better when class time rolled around so i called my mom and talked to her for a while and told her about my back.... (ok a little bit of background is needed for me to continue with the story... 29 days previous Seth had returned home from his mission. We had seen each other occasionally at the Institute because his Dad worked there, but we hadn't really spoken since before his mission. (We have a complicated past...) We talked a little bit about his mission, but that's about it. There was this awkward tension and yet neither one of us could keep from smiling when we'd see each other! :) ... As i sat there talking to my mom, the office door was open and Seth walked in! All of a sudden all the words in my head went kind of fuzzy. Seth asked me if i was ok, and we talked for a minute. Then when he got up to leave he turned to me and asked, "Can i talk to you?" Right then i remembered i was suppose to babysit for one of my friends, and she was bringing the child to the Institute because of my back. I told him as soon as i was through babysitting we could talk. I mustered up all the strength i had and stood up to go find my friend. All the while i was watching this little girl (in a laying down position, lol) Seth never left the room. :) After a couple hours one of my guy friends came in the room and we kinda started flirting for a bit and he asked me to go to dinner with him that night. (i know, i was a complete brat!!) I told him 'yes' and as i continued flirting I saw Seth walk out the door. I literally hobbled after him. When i finally caught up to him he was a little upset, but tried to hide it. (it was so cute) I convinced him that there's no place i'd rather be than right there talking to him. SO we walked outside and i found a comfortable position on the ground and we talked. We talked for hours about literally everything. It was amazing. Before we realized it, we were holding hands and laughing as if we had been together forever. After about 10 long hugs goodbye he asked me if he could take me home (i was in no condition to drive! My back was killing me) so i said yes. When we got to my house he walked me up to the door and i went to say goodbye and he said, "I want to go in and see your mom, i haven't seen her in forever!" I just about passed out...(My mom always just adored Seth, and i was sure the excitement of seeing him would just about kill her...) SO i unlocked the door and went inside and my little brother was watching TV. He just about died when he saw Seth. He jumped up and they immediately started talking away! I went to find my mom and she was laying down. I went in her room and she asked me how i was feeling and everything, and then i told her..."Seth Rasmussen is here..." I have NEVER seen my mom jump up so fast! We immediately started laughing and giggling like little school girls as i tried to give her every detail of the day as fast as i could! We finally went back out into the family room and Seth and my mom got all caught up. Afterwards Seth said that he was going to hang out with a bunch of his friends and he wanted me to go with him. I had a date with someone else though. What was i going to do? Well duh! I called and canceled my date...(there's a lot more to the story but i won't bore you with details)...and my mom pumped me full of Ibuprofen for my back, and away we went. It was such a fun night, i don't think it could have gone any more amazing. The whole night we invented hundreds of ways to hold hands secretly but by the end of the night it was no secret...we were in love. :) March 10 will always be special to us...it was such a random day filled with so many emotions, and yet it was the day we both knew that together is where we wanted to be, forever. The month of March 2005 holds some of our favorite memories...maybe i'll share a few in the next couple of weeks! :) Now...back to painting!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Secret is Finally Out!

As of last night at 4:00pm we are officially home owners!! For the past many painful months we have been house hunting...looking at house after house after house. It was getting very tiring and very depressing. We received automatic emails everytime a new house went on the market in the areas we had specified and it felt like we had looked at hundreds. We had specific things we wanted, like at least 4 bedrooms for example, and everything we looked at just wasn't at all what we were looking for. Then one day we decided to go back to the first house we had originally looked at and we decided we really liked it. So we made an offer. During the very long "making an offer" process we both squirmed and felt a little uneasy. Later that night we prayed harder than ever before that if this house wasn't where we were suppose to be to please put something in our way. After we were through praying i got up to check my email one last time before shutting my computer down for the night. As i sat down and looked at the screen i watched as 1 new email popped up in my inbox. It was a house. I clicked on it to delete it because we had JUST made an offer on a house, why would i look at more...when something told me just to look at it. So i opened it up and it was located in Anthem. (For those of you familiar with Las Vegas you know how far south Anthem is) We ruled out Anthem when we first started looking at houses because it was too far away from my parents, but something about this house grabbed my attention. I told Seth to come over to the computer and both our jaws dropped open as we took a virtual tour of the place. It had a beautiful brick driveway and pretty rock on parts of the house, it was built only one year ago, it had 4 bedrooms, 2500 sq ft, the kitchen was JUST what we were looking for-dark granite with all stainless steel appliances, and right off the master bedroom was a huge balcony the entire length of the house... with a strip view! And those were just a couple of the perks! We were in LOVE. Seth immediately printed out directions to the house and we jumped in the car and started driving. It really wasn't that far! It was only a 25 minute drive and when we pulled into the driveway we both sat there for no longer than 30 seconds before we were scrambling for the phone to call our realtor. The very next morning we went to see the house. We started out walking through it and before we realized it we were running around and shouting out all the things we loved! We knew it. This was where we wanted to be. So we withdrew the offer on the previous house and immediately drew up an offer on this one. Now, it was a foreclosure (of COURSE) and so we were working with a bank, so we didn't think we would hear back on our offer for at least a couple weeks. AND since we made the offer on the first day it listed we were really nervous this was just going to be a big painful flop.

Seth was really swamped at work so he hardly had 2 min. to worry about the house...but me on the other hand, i had plenty of time to go through all of the emotions. The minute our offer was submitted i hit my knees. I prayed and talked to my Father in Heaven like never before. I told Him how i was nervous and scared, but how at the same time the house felt so right. Every spare moment i had that i wasn't with Nics i would pray...and it was kind of interesting...i wasn't praying FOR the house...i was praying for us to be guided and to be where we were supposed to be. It was such an amazing experience, i still had all the anxiety and fears but i was at peace. Well, Monday morning came and you'll NEVER guess what we found out. Our realtor called and told us the bank called him! It had only been barely 2 business days! Anyway, the bank told him they had 3 other offers besides ours...BUT they had taken them off the table and ours was the only one left! They needed another 24 hours to think about it but they just wanted to let us know where they were at. We were STUNNED! The house had ONLY been on the market for ONE day and there were FOUR offers submitted!! We then started realizing what a steal of a deal we'd be getting if they accepted our offer. Before us, this house was bought for $536,000! (WHOA!!) Now because of the foreclosures it was going for significantly lower!!

Well...two days later i was sitting at home with Nics and the phone rang. It was the realtor. I just stared at my ringing phone knowing that the decision had been made...my stomach was tight and my heart was racing. When i said 'hello' our realtor asked me how i was. I thought for sure he was trying to cushion me for a sad blow....but then he said, "Brandi, they accepted your offer!" I started bawling instantly and felt such a warm comfort feeling flood over me. I knew we were led to this house. It was a painfully emotional process but Heavenly Father was with us the whole way, He was so aware of US. It was such a beautiful moment. As soon as i hung up the phone the first thing i did was grab Nics and we had a prayer. We thanked our Father in Heaven for being there for us, and for helping us through this important time in our lives. It was so special. As soon as we were finished i immediately started calling Seth but he was in class! I left him a message to call me asap. When he finally called me back we couldn't contain our excitement, it was such an amazing moment.

We have been blessed so very much and we feel so inadequate and undeserving of all the love and guidance we have felt from our Savior. Blessings are being poured down from the heavens in every aspect of our lives right now...we are so full of gratitude and love for our dear Savior and Father...it's so overwhelming. The last couple months have been so hard in so many ways, but we have learned that as we include our Father in Heaven and literally MAKE Him a part of our lives that even when it's hard, He will carry us through it all and shower us with blessings as we endure to the end. This is such an exciting time in our lives! Last night we went out and celebrated, then we went up to OUR new home (hehe...i like saying that...hehe) and took a couple of fun pictures. We couldn't get a picture of the outside because it was dark, but more pictures will be coming soon! :)

We're signing for our FIRST home!! (we got to keep the pens! hehe.)

We are celebrating at the Cheesecake Factory! Seth made the cute little 'Cheesecake display' with our keys...he's adorable!

We're walking into "our home" for the first time!

Love-Love-Love the kitchen!!

Nicci LOVES the new place...especially the stairs!!

I LOVE our bathtub...yep LOVE it!

yes...i'm dancing in our new tub!

Seth parked our car in the garage for the FIRST time!! And now he is placing our FIRST item in our garage! ...

...Our little gas can!!

We have a garage!!

Now all the fun begins...painting, packing, cleaning, moving...AH!! Home Depot here we come!