So, you've probably already heard the big news, but let me invite you into the inner workings of this big life change for our family. It is definitely a decision we did not come to lightly.
Andrew has been miserable at work for a long time. He has applied for jobs inside and outside of the company. He has had multiple interviews, and some of those interviews have gone INCREDIBLY well. But then our hearts break every time we get the news that someone else got the position, and once again we wonder why we cant catch a break.
We really do believe that Heavenly Father is aware of us. We know He has a plan for our family, and we know he want us all to be happy.
So with all that knowledge and belief, we still wondered why Andrew was stuck in a job that made him so unhappy? Where were the promised blessings and opportunities for Andrew to improve his situation? We prayed and prayed and prayed for the faith to continue and for the insight to know when the right door was opening for our family.
Well, that door opened one night as we listened to my dad talk about his stress at work and his concern for his sister (my aunt). Andrew sat there and wondered, "What can we do to help him?"
When he asked me that question later, I responded, "I don't think we can do anything to help. It's wonderful that you want to relieve some of the stress, but we don't live close and we don't have the skills to do anything helpful."
Andrew's response was this crazy idea to go into real estate, move to California, and work with my dad.
I cried when he told me his idea. Utah has been my home for over 12 years. What was he thinking?!?!
And then I felt immediate peace about it.
That has been the overwhelming feeling through these past few weeks: peace. And just like that, the decision has been made and we are taking steps to move to California.
You would think that moving your family to a new state, leaving beloved friends and family, and taking such big risks would put a pit in your stomach. But I have never felt that. I've only felt calm peace, and I take that as a big spiritual confirmation that this is the right move for our family at this time.
Of course I am sad. I am so so so sad to leave the wonderful relationships I have here. I will miss hanging out with sister-in-laws who have become some of my dearest friends. I will miss one of my best friends giving birth to her first babies (she's having twins). I will miss the changing seasons and the beautiful Utah sunsets. I've cried so many tears about all the things I will miss. But at the end of the day, I also can’t deny the feeling of peace.
The other day, as I cried in the shower about this big decision, the Spirit spoke to me and prompted my thoughts, "It's your choice. You can choose to move to California, or you can choose to stay in Utah. You can find happiness either way. HOWEVER, if you don't go to California, you will be missing out on some very special miracles that are waiting there for you."
That's how heaven works, through agency. God isn't going to force us to do anything, but there are great blessings for following the promptings of the Spirit and humbly saying, "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord."
I know there are big blessings waiting for us in California. I know this career move will bring greater happiness and future opportunities for Andrew. I know that there are people who will come into our path who we can bless. I know it. And I am grateful that God has allowed me to see a little glimpse of all the good that will come from this move.
We love our home in Herriman, Utah. When we bought this house 2 years ago, our plan was to stay here for at least 5 years. We planned on having all our kids here (which is especially nice since we live only minutes from the hospital where my OB and our pediatrician all work). We worked on making this house more homey, recently finishing the basement so we'd have more space for out-of-town visitors and spending time and money to decorate each room to fit our style. I've always liked this house, but I had begun to REALLY love our home. Moving out was NOT in the plans.
So when Andrew told me this CRAZY idea for him to get his real estate license, move out to California, and work with my dad and aunt in the family business, I was in shock. I didn't want to move.
If you haven't read my post on how we came to the decision to move, you should probably go back and read that.
Now, after having made the decision, we had to start putting things in motion to sell our beautiful home. We met with multiple realtors and tried to feel out who would be the best fit for us and our situation. We finally decided on Duane, an agent who had recently hired my brother-in-law, Bobby, to do some video marketing for him. Duane had some impressive experience and was the go-getter that we needed. He told us (like all the other agents we had met with) that comps were showing our house would probably sell in the low 350s. But when we told him we were hoping for closer to 360k, he said he liked a challenge and we set the price at $359,900.
We signed with Duane on a Thursday night.
Cleaned like crazy and had the photographer snap pictures of our home on Friday.
Our house went up for sale on Friday night.
Saturday at 6:30 pm we had our first showing.
Saturday around 9 pm, Duane called me.
"I'm calling to put a smile on your face," he said. "You already have an offer on your house!"
"It's a full-price offer," he explained, "but they don't have a pre-approval letter at this time, so we aren't going to accept the offer just yet. Let's see if anyone else puts in an offer and maybe we can get a bidding war to drive up the price."
I was so giddy with the news. Full price! That was incredible since everyone else had said we wouldn't be able to sell that high.
But then I got a little greedy... "Well, if there was so much interest from just that first showing, we must be priced right (or too low?) and we will surely have tons of showings and offers. I can only imagine the possibilities!!!!"
Well, imagine I did, but surprisingly we didn't have another request for a showing. No more showings. No more offers. I had to reign back my giddy greediness and accept that we really had received an amazing offer. We were getting exactly what we had asked for and it had happened so quickly.
We accepted the offer with joy and started packing since we'd only have 30 days before closing.
Well, of course things can't run perfectly smooth, so a few days later we got a bomb dropped on us. It turns out that getting solar panels on our home a year ago was a bad idea. A very terrible, expensive, bad idea.
We had been told by multiple solar salesmen that solar would add value to our home (lie #1) and that it would be easy to transfer the payments to a new owner if we were to sell our house (lie #2). It turns out that solar is a new factor in real estate, and a lot of people don't know how to handle it. It adds zero value to the home, and buyers can refuse to take on the payment which means the seller would have to pay out the rest of the solar loan... in our case, almost $15k!
This news made me sick. No, really, I was physically ill. I had to cancel a dinner date with friends because I could not muster up the energy nor the enthusiasm to see anyone. It was a miserable night. But then the next day brought a little ray of sunshine. Duane called and informed us that he had talked to the buyer's agent and they were willing to work on a deal. They'd want the refrigerator, washer and dryer, the couches and our bedroom furniture (minus the mattress), but they were willing to pay for half of the solar cost.
Hallelujah!!!! This helped ease the sting to our wallets as we drew near the end of our time in Herriman.
The contract specified that we had 30 days until closing, so on December 17 we had family and friends come to the house to load up the moving truck. Then bright and early on December 18 we loaded up the kids and said goodbye to Utah to travel to our new home in California. My mom drove the Mini Cooper and caravaned with me and the babies. Andrew and his brother, Bobby, drove in the moving truck. After a long day of travel, we arrived to my parent's house (our new home for the next few months until our townhome is finished).
The first week here has been crazy. Between moving, unpacking, Christmas celebrations, and family visits it has been an exhausting week. But we are excited to be surrounded by family and entering a new stage in our lives.
We have done lots of fun things this month:
But October has also brought quite a few tough moments along with the cold:
This week, the girls and I adventured to the outside world for the first time without Andrew. It was interesting (see previous post about the runaway stroller).
Actually, it was really nice to be outside and hang out with family. On Tuesday we went to the zoo with Stacey and her daughter Clara. Grace and Clara are only a few months apart, and as they grow it is fun to see how their relationship blossoms. They shared snacks and rode on the carousel together. At one point, Clara started tickling Grace and they both laughed their heads off about it. Their friendship is super cute!
The next day we ventured out to farm country with Heidi and her kids. Heidi's son, Parker, is another one of Grace's favorite cousins. He can always get her to giggle. Grace loved petting the goats and bunny rabbits. She was also obsessed with the baby chicks. But I think her favorite activity of the day was sitting on the gravel and moving rocks. haha. (Why are non-toys so clearly more engaging and fun to play with than actual toys created for kids?)
Some other random highlights of the week include:
Being a parent comes with so many learning curves. Of course, we are going to make mistakes along the way. But there are some mistakes that you wish could be avoided....like the run-away stroller incident I experienced this week.
It all started with a trip to the zoo. This was my first outing by myself with both babies and a new stroller. As I parked, I started trying to play how I would get everyone out of the car.
I decided to proceed in the following order:
It seemed like such a simple plan, but things took a turn for the worst when I failed to engage the break properly.
I had just strapped Grace into her seat and had turned back to the car to get the bassinet when suddenly I heard someone screaming across the parking lot, "YOUR STROLLER!!! YOUR STROLLER!!!" I glanced to where I had just left Grace and instead saw her rolling away.
I freaked out and ran after her. Luckily, the parking lot wasn't busy, so Grace wasn't in any danger, but STILL! As I pushed her back to the car, I could feel the embarrassed tears filling my eyes. I tried to breathe deep and continue assembling the stroller, but I was flustered and feeling a bit overwhelmed.
The man who had yelled at me came over with his family. He was an older gentleman, with his wife, daughter (who was probably around my age), and grandson (about Grace's age).
"Sorry," he said as he approached. "I didn't mean to scare you. I would have grabbed the stroller if I had been closer."
"No, don't apologize. I am very grateful you yelled." I reassured him through my tears.
His wife smiled at me. "You'd be hard pressed to find a mom that hasn't had a similar experience."
Their kindness calmed my tears. They wished me luck on my outing and left. I said a silent prayer of thanks that everyone was safe, packed up the rest of the stroller, and headed into the zoo to meet up with my sister-in-law.
So, everybody survived and I learned the invaluable lesson of the importance of stroller breaks.
Please tell me if you’ve ever had any similar parenting mistakes... let’s bond through our weaknesses :)
Andrew and Maichael
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