Sunday, July 1, 2012


Change- it sure isn't easy.  For a while, Charles was casually looking for a new job. The busy seasons and travel that came with working for KPMG were really wearing down on our family.  Back in December he felt really impressed to really search harder for a new job.  After talking to a few different companies and practices he spoke with one of his friends who had also worked at KPMG, but had just left to take a job with Bank of America in Charlotte.  His friend told him all about it and that they were still hiring.  Next thing we knew, he got Charles' application in and he had an interview lined up for the week after Liam was born.  They flew Charles up to Charlotte for an interview with the international tax department.  He felt strongly that this was the job he had been searching for.  Before we knew it he had an offer.  Things moved so fast after that, it is almost a blur.  We started looking online for homes in Charlotte.  I randomly came across a realtor that turned out to be the best realtor we could have asked for.  Charles, Liam and I flew up to Charlotte to find a home.  We only had 5 days to find a home so we hit the ground running.  The first day, Thursday, we drove around a few different areas of Charlotte that we had narrowed our search to based on schools and locations and what people had told us.  After visiting the different areas we were torn between an area called Huntersville on the north side of Charlotte and an area called Ballantyne in the south of Charlotte.  They were complete opposites, not just on the map, but also in their characteristics.  Huntersville had more of a country feel to it while Ballantyne was more metropolitan with lots of shopping and everything you could need close by, our realtor described it as the up and coming area in Charlotte and it had the top schools around.  That morning we had found a new home in Huntersville that we loved, but it wasn't zoned for the best schools.  Then that night we met up with our realtor Mike and he drove us all around to different vacant homes in the Ballantyne area till almost 11 at night.  We found one home we loved and started thinking that could be our home.  We went back to the hotel that night and really reflected on what we wanted to do.  Prior to arriving in Charlotte I had kind of made up in my mind that we would live in Huntersville.  So now we had the house in Huntersville that we loved and the house in Ballantyne that Mike had shown us that we loved.  Decisions, decisions.  In Huntersville you could get a lot more for your money, but the schools weren't as good.  In Ballantyne the schools were great, but the homes were a little more expensive.  We did lots of praying that night.  We were so scared to pick an area and then end up not liking it.  The next morning (Friday) we felt strongly that we needed to be in the Ballantyne area, mainly because of the schools. We decided that we could sacrifice a little on the house size in order to have better schools, also the availability of  everything right at our fingertips was very appealing in Ballantyne.  We let Mike know that we wanted to focus our search in Ballantyne.  I wanted to go back to the house we had found there that we both loved the night before and see it during the day.  When we got there we got out of the car and instantly I was so disappointed.  All I could hear was the sound of cars whizzing by.  Apparently behind the trees in the back yard was the highway!  I hadn't noticed the sound the night before, probably because it was late and there wasn't much traffic.  I really wanted a home where I could sit out on the porch and hear nature and feel at peace.  We told Mike we wanted to keep looking.  At this point I was really starting to stress.  We had to fly home Monday and I was so worried that we wouldn't find a home. We met Mike at his office and he had printed info on probably 20 homes or so and we went through them one by one, looking at pictures online and narrowed the pile down to 9 homes.  He then told us to go and drive by each of those 9 homes and narrow the list down to 5 homes and that he would make appointments with each of those homeowners to go and see the homes.  We went and drove by each of those homes and we were able to eliminate a few based on location and neighborhoods.  There were 2 homes in particular that we were impressed by and thought, one of them could be the one.  We called Mike and he set up appointments for the next morning(Saturday).  The first house we visited was the house Charles thought we would pick from the drive by the day before.  Instantly we fell in love!  We knew it would be our home.  It had 4 bedrooms, plus a huge playroom (which was a must have), an office, formal dining room, family room with vaulted ceilings so you can see up to the upstairs and a big kitchen.  Probably what sold us the most on it was the great backyard.  It was huge, with a new deck and gazebo and swing set for the kids.  We still visited the other 4 homes since we had appointments, but none of them compared to the first one.  The house that I had liked from the day before on the drive by was our second choice.  So it became our back up in case our offer didn't go through.  We went back to Mike's office and he wrote up an offer.  He called the other realtor and told them that we were putting in a serious offer and if they were going to counter to be realistic, we didn't have time to play games.  About an hour or so later Mike called us and said they came back with a great counter.  It was actually less than what we had agreed would be our cap and they included the refrigerator, washer and dryer and swing set just like we asked.  We accepted their counter, drove back to Mike's office, put money down and went under contract!  Everything was perfect.  On Sunday we were able to relax and go to our new ward and meet people.  
  When we got back to Florida we had the huge task of packing and getting our home ready to show and find renters.  Charles was fortunate enough to have almost three weeks home with me to help before he had to come on up to Charlotte and start working.  I planned to meet him in Charlotte with the kids a month after him when we were closing on the house.  It was really hard once Charles left.  I felt so alone and overwhelmed.  I had a whole house to pack, needed to find renters, all while taking care of the 3 kids by myself.  My mom was in the process of moving as well, so neither of us were able to help the other very much, so it made it extra hard for both of us.  Once the house was ready to show we listed it and were able to find great renters within a week!  We felt so blessed once again.  All the pieces of the puzzle came together and it was such a burden off of our shoulders.  We know that God had a hand in all of this.  A few people from my ward stepped up and helped me those last two weeks or so and I somehow managed to get the rest of the packing done.  I am so grateful to them for their help.  Seeing my house all packed up in boxes was a bit surreal.  Seeing the movers take everything out of the house and load it onto the truck was even more surreal.  I'd be lying if I said there weren't tears shed.  Life as we had known it for the past 8 years was about to change.  All of our memories since we got married were in that home.  Even though we had travelled a bit for Charles work, we always went back home.  It is where we brought each of our kids home the first time, where they learned to talk and walk.  Everything was there!  I hope they will remember all of the good times we had there.
  Immediately upon arrival in Charlotte we were struck by the southern hospitality.  All our new neighbors in our cul de sac came and introduced themselves.  Some brought goodies, others offered help.  I asked one of our neighbors what most people do for lawn care, whether they do it themselves or have people do it.  He told me not to worry about it yet and that he would do our lawn for us that first weekend.  Sure enough, he was out mowing our lawn that Saturday.  We also had people from church come and help me with the kids and bring us food.  Everyone is just so genuinely kind.  We feel so grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful people at this time of change.

We said goodbye to our town home, that treated us well for so nearly 8 years.

Our new home in Charlotte, NC

Unpacking was quite the task with a 4 year old, 2 year old and a new born.

 It took the movers 12 hours to unload the entire truck.  I'm so glad we have nice neighbors who didn't complain about the truck taking up the entire cul de sac all day.  

While we loved our new home, there were a few things on the list of things to change.  The first thing we did was tear up the white carpet throughout the house.  We knew going in that white would never work and sure enough within a day that white carpet looked grey!  I don't know how anyone could have white carpet with kids.  We replaced all the carpet downstairs with hard wood floors and put new carpeting in all the bedrooms, playroom, upstairs hall and stairs.  It was an immediate face lift.  Next on the list of things to do is painting!

 The finished product.  Love our floors!

 We love our backyard and all the outdoor space.

 Of course the swing set was a hit with the kids!

Charles was excited to get a lawn mower and start taking care of the lawn.