Sunday, July 27, 2014

Selling


As of now, we have gotten the job, CT3 has started the job, the house is on the market and we just had Moosey. 

CT3 took two weeks off when we had our little man and the day we came home from the hospital, we took a few pictures of the fam, tidied up a bit and then all got out to SHOW THE HOUSE! The next day, we had Moose's doctors appointment and while we were there, Mom and Dad took the other kids and dog out for ANOTHER SHOWING.

Took pics before we had to skedaddle for a showing. 

Introducing the bigs to the newest addition!

We had talked about me and the three kids and dog staying in our home while CT3 worked in Atlanta and him coming in for the weekends, but honestly, it was just too much.

Mom and Dad had offered to let us move in with them, but I felt like with the addition of the new baby, my kids lives were already a bit flipped upside down. I didn't want to rock the boat even more...AM was in school and dance and CT4 and me had our routine there and of course our stuff, toys, clothes and all. Oh, and I am kind of stubborn, so I just figured that I would do my best to handle it on my own.

Yeah right.

At one point, Mom said she wasn't leaving her baby alone with her babies and if I didn't head north, she would head south and when Mom is determined, she is worse than me!...and yall know how strong willed I am, right!?

Turns out, my Mama is a smart, smart woman.

A new baby, being up all night, two toddlers and doing it all alone while trying to keep a house clean to sell and chasing fur balls from the dog around is cray-cray. Like one of those things I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It was crazy here in Atlanta with four adults and I cant imagine trying to do it all on my own!

Some things would have been a bit easier, but some things would have been a major disaster! I didn't want Mom leaving her house, work, life, Dad and all to come help me, so we decided to take them up on their offer. We would sell soon, right!? At least we hoped! AM had her last day of school and we packed a few necessities.

Annie M took cupcakes for her last day of school at her "old school."

I knew we would be back, but this felt like "it" for me. I was emotionally detaching myself and these last nights felt like our last nights there with it as our home. I snuck in to take a few pictures of all four of my babies sleeping in our first home - and the one we brought them all home to.


On Monday, March 31st, we loaded both cars with the stuff we would need for the next few weeks and moved in with my rents. Tuesday, April 1st, we visited and signed Annie M up for school and then Wednesday, April 2nd, she started her new school. The next week, she started dance and swimming.

First week in Atlanta!

I love everything about this picture! The cheeks, the smushed face and the tutu bathing suit! 

All of this sounds and seems a bit over the top, but I really do think it was a good decision to plug her in immediately. It kept her involved with things she was already in and gave her a bit of structure and time out of the house. She loved her new school and didn't miss a beat and she thrived at dance. Swimming was just because we were headed into summer, but she has done well with that too and I think I would do it all again like that if I had to. The most challenging part was finding paperwork, documents, checkbooks and getting all of the formalities squared away with our stuff being all over creation!

Muffins with Mom!


Once we settled here, we initially talked about going back and forth on weekends just to get out of my parents way. With the cost of gas, trying to load the kids and get down and back - then having to keep it spotless and clean to come back up was just exhausting. After two of those weekends, we parked it in Atlanta with the exception of appointments or class events at Annie M's old school that I promised I would drive her back for {Easter Egg Hunt}. CT3 was more willing to do the back and forth, but for me, nothing was relaxing, it was a major source of stress and I pitched a fit and pulled the plug on it pretty quick.

And by settled, I mean got AM's pop up bed fixed in the walk in closet! ;) 

Our house had over 38 showings and multiple second showings. It was on the market for just over four months before we had a contract and then we closed 30 days later {June 30}. Close to half of those showings were before I had the baby and while I was there with Mom or someone, trying to clean, get out, show, etc. We were thrilled to have such interest but after showing after showing and no offers, we were a bit anxious. There was also a McDonald's that popped up on the corner {a block and a half or so} from our house and we didn't think that did much for our property value!


I had started praying that God would send us a Big Mac lover because I wasn't sure we would sell the house otherwise!!

Honestly, with the summer here and that being the best time of year to sell, we got fairly aggressive. We dropped the price twice {once at the end of April then again at the beginning of May} and then we also added an agent incentive to any agent who could bring a contract that closed within 30 days.

In my brain, I was willing to take a little more of a hit financially knowing that we could stay at my parents for an extra month or so to make up the difference and get rid of the house. We were very blessed to have this option and again with the sale of our house, I feel like we were very fortunate. Of course we would have loved not to have dropped the price, but in the end, the Lord sent the perfect buyer and of course, He did a few little things just to encourage us along!

Just little things like a good inspection and minimal costs were good and other things like, our deal being a cash deal meaning the closing was a fraction of what I had budgeted was a blessing. We didn't have to worry about financing, we could bump up the close date and we didn't have to stress over the house appraising which was also all nice.

The frustrations were along the lines of the buyer being a bit picky with requests like us laying pine straw so many days prior to closing, washing the roof and cosmetic and silly things. In the end though, I was willing to do what it took to sell and just tried to be thankful that it was nothing big - like a new roof or new flooring or anything! I didn't want to play hard ball, I just wanted to be done with the house!

My FIL and Dad went down with CT3 for a big work day and then my Dad took a checklist another day and went down and played handy man and got it all done. It took lots of time and effort and coordination and without help, I would probably be down there right now trying to figure out how to patch a hole or caulk the exterior window! My Mom and sister helped me on this end with kids and it truly was a team effort!

The closing was easy breezy and within 20 minutes, we had turned our happy little first home into the hands of a stranger.

It was very bittersweet but more sweet to be done with that chapter! Lauren told me of a lady she has used to do watercolors and so on her recommendation, I had this sweet little watercolor done of our first home.


I have pictures of moving day to post soon but lets just say that if I ever have to move again, hiring movers is the way to go!! They were AWESOME and my main responsibilities were delivering lunch and tipping - both of which I could handle!

P.S. Living with your parents at the ripe old age of 32 with three kids, a dog and a partridge in a pear tree really does have its perks!! Dad and Mom cook, clean and even babysit for the hubs and I to sneak away!!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back and Forth

CT3 started working in Atlanta when I was 35 weeks pregnant.

The plan basically was for the kids and I to travel two more weeks with him and then when I hit 37 weeks, I would stay back with them and Mom or someone would come keep me company and help with the kids til I delivered.

AM had school two days a week, so we would do her school days and then head north. We would be there for a few days, then head back south. CT3 would leave Sunday evenings and drive in late Friday night. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Fill up with gas and go back and forth!

Between house showings and keeping the house clean, traveling and trying to keep up with kids, I was worn out.

We spent a few of our weekends in Atlanta and CT3 and I focused on driving the area where we thought we would look, finding neighborhoods that looked decent, scoping out schools and visiting churches. There were a few weekdays that I would drive across town and tour pre-schools or whatever just to get an idea of places to plug into after we settled. I know that sounds a bit over the top, but honestly, I am SO glad that I did.

Here was my train of thought. We are selling a home, buying a home, moving, starting a new job, and having a new baby and just ONE of those things is enough to raise someones blood pressure. Combine them all into one and it may make you crazy! I wanted to shop schools before school was out and before I had three kids to tote around. I wanted to be familiar with the area so that when it was time to buy a house, we would know where to focus our efforts and what neighborhoods we liked and which ones to skip. Lets be honest, Atlanta is a BIG city so direction helped. We want to plug into a church early on and I wanted to have a few places scoped out.

I knew that we may not land exactly in these areas we were looking, but just having a starting point and a framework was huge. I did the best I could to just get in my head some of the surrounding areas and tried to envision what our life would eventually look like here.

One Sunday, we visited a church.

You may not know this about me, but I like the crazy churches. I am quite informal, pretty laid back and I feel like God loves me just as I am. I love the fancy dresses and I appreciate getting dressed up as a form of respect, but I don't think God loves me any different if I am in my yoga pants, jeans or Sunday best, ya know?

I also prefer a church where the service is a bit more free - shall we say?? I don't mind people cheering in church {you cheer for a bunch of men throwing around a pigskin, so you can clap for the man who gave his life to save ours} and I am totally cool with people wanting to dance before God, or worship how they please. We dance at weddings to celebrate, so why not dance at church and celebrate!? I do appreciate reverence as well, but I tend to be much more on the come as you are and clap when you want to type.

Anyway, at this church, we walked in and the worship leader was from my old church in Birmingham.

Yep, the church I said that I have always said that I would move to Birmingham just to attend the church and sit under the leadership of the people there and be a part of that congregation, the worship leader is now in Atlanta. Come to find out that that weekend, they were having a women's conference and the leader of it was someone from the church in CALIFORNIA that I had attended some and loved. WHAT!? Birmingham --------> Atlanta?? California -------> Atlanta!?

Say what you will, but if the Lord hadn't gone before setting all of this up, then it was QUITE the um, 'coincidence!?!'

Church started and just to make me a bit more comfortable {as if I needed more confirmation} two of my FAVORITE songs were played. It was like the entire service was set up knowing we would be there. After being in such a transitional phase and being back and forth so much, these little things making a unknown area and new church seem like home was quite a blessing.

I was getting excited about the possibilities, but I knew that it would potentially be a LONG way off before we officially got to that side of town. Lets be honest, I had three weeks at least til delivery, we needed to sell the house and then buy a house and if all of that happened the NEXT day, we were still probably 2 months off from getting there.

{In case you are wondering, that didn't happen the next day! In fact, it still hasn't happened, but will soon!}

During worship they have people who paint "prophetic art."

Don't let that church term frighten you! In my little brain, here is how I think about it. Artists let something inspire them. They listen to music while they paint, they go to a peaceful or inspirational place, whatever. Something strikes them and that's what they paint. Prophetic art is no different! The music is worship music and the setting happened to be in church!

Anyway, the day we were there, the artist painted an image of a girl in a red shirt with red hair looking up at a house. The house had rays of sun shining down on it and it was like the house had such a peace and calmness about it.


Not surprisingly, that day I was wearing a red shirt {and I have red hair} as well...I really felt like the Lord just was confirming it all. The move, the house, the unknown and that it was all okay! To be at peace in the midst of the crazy times because He was in the midst.

That whole day just put a bit of a pep into my pregnant step. I knew to trust in His timing and to relax through it all. That image I think is what kept me sane through all of this transition!

The back and forth continued til March 17th when I delivered Baby Moose and then we took two weeks at our house before we packed up a few extra things and with a two week old, 16 month old, 3.5 year old and a dog, moved in with my parents! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Job

Ooops, I did it again. Sorry, Britney.

Life keeps coming at me and I keep falling off the blog planet! I swear I will try to do better...or maybe in a month when we have a house, move and kids go to school I will find a minute to cook, clean and blog! Til then, just love me and don't give up on me please!

I'm not gonna lie, I am kind of over blogging about the move because I want to be moved and said and done. Instead the move keeps dragging, the blog keeps dragging and I am bored with myself. You are probably bored with me too.

That said, I have to blog it before I can move on. While I am ready for it to be over, this whole thing has been just such a God thing that I need it on paper {internet paper} so that when I am doubting, I can go back and remind myself of this testimony and all that He can and will do...even if His timeline is longer than mine, right!?

For those just joining, here is an overview of the move story so far::
  • End of Summer: We decide we will pursue a move home, update resumes and begin networking.
  • Early October-ish: CT3 has an encouraging discussion with a leader at his plant. The next day Mom, kids and I run into the person who speaks to us by name....I've met the guy twice in my life. 
  • November: A job opens and CT3 applies.
  • Early December: CT3 has an unofficial meet and greet with a senior HR rep.
  • December 11th: CT3 interviews.
The interview was done and again it was time to hurry up and wait and pray. 

We went on a little family trip to Callaway Gardens, prepped for Christmas and waited. We hadn't heard much and while I wanted my husband to ask regularly where things were in the process, he is much more relaxed and doesn't seem to get as antsy as me.

Over the few weeks between the time he interviewed and we heard, he was approached a few times with questions. We wondered why they were asking some of this and hoped that it was because he got the job, but again, at this point, we had heard nothing. 

One day, CT3 checked online and he saw that a similar job was posted but with a higher ranking and one key line added insinuating that "an internal candidate had been pre-selected." 

We tried not to get our hopes up, but we were hoping that they were trying to tweak things internally and re compete the job in hopes of them offering us something competitive to where we were. Lets be honest, a one income family, moving to a city with a cost of living 9% higher and about to add a third child didn't seem like a great formula to take a pay cut! 

On New Years Eve, we got the call that an offer would be made and then a week and a half later {mid-January}, he received the official offer. Within a few days, CT3 had accepted the position and plans were made for him to transfer over.  

The day that he made the decision official, Mom and I began packing the house. I was 33 weeks pregnant and wanted my part done as fast as I could to get it listed and so that I could focus on delivering a baby! I didn't want to be throwing stuff on a moving truck, chasing the kids and delivering a baby all at once! Besides, Mom is a work horse and no use letting her hard working self just sit on the couch and be bored, right!? 

A month later, CT3 started work in Atlanta. At this point, I was almost 36 weeks pregnant and feeling every bit of it! 
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Moving:: The Interview

If you are just jumping in now, be sure to click back to my last two posts. They share how we got this whole move thing rolling!

When we left off yesterday, CT3 had had a critical business meeting with a influential person at work.

A few weeks after that, a job opened up in Atlanta.  The internal transfer could be a delicate thing and we wanted to walk diligently through that. For CT3 to put in for this transfer, he had to tell his boss, his bosses boss and human resources and then there were no guarantees. We were nervous that he wouldn't get the job or would decide to stay, but because we had expressed interest in leaving, it would stall his career there at his current plant.

Ultimately, we decided that he would be open and honest with his bosses in regards to these discussions and let them know that while we were looking, he was also pushing harder than ever in the projects he was on there and would remain 110% committed until otherwise noted. His focus would be on the current and we would trust God for the future knowing that if the details fell into place, it would be because of Him.

CT3 put in for the job and we waited. And waited. And waited some more.

It must have been early November when he applied and then we didn't hear anything for a few weeks. Though we wondered, setting our focus on where we were currently, helped us through the wait....I would be lying if I didn't ask CT3 daily "if he had heard anything."

Finally, we got the word that they would like to interview him and we were nervously excited. The interview would be in the beginning of December and so we set our sights on that.


One day at work, before his interview, HR called CT3 in and told him that the person in charge of HR for the Atlanta division was at his plant today and would CT3 like to meet with him. 

UM, YES!? 

CT3 said they chatted for over 45 minutes and though it was not an interview or anything official, it was kind of an interview and a great connection with again, another person of influence. This person would have direct contact with the other people who would be hiring him and all so to bump into this guy and spend just shy of an hour with him was another encouraging sign. 


When the interview day rolled around - mid December and just over a month since he applied, CT3 came up the night before and though family was close by, we decided that he would stay in a hotel just so he could get a nights sleep with out kids, family, friends around. He wanted to brush up on his resume and think through some interview stuff and we felt like the solidarity and quietness of the hotel room would let him have the space to do that.

It would also let him sleep right by the plant and not being familiar with traffic patterns and times, we didn't want to risk an Atlanta traffic jam and him be delayed or late for an interview!

Fast forward through the next day and the interview went fine...I never get much from my husband {part because he is humble and part because he refuses to toot his own horn} and if get anything its a "fine." I always say "fine good?" or "fine bad" and while he said some was good, he just wasn't 100% sure as he was nervous during it. He felt like he knew all of the answers and had good ideas and responses but didn't know how effectively he had communicated.

You know, like it makes sense in your head yet you wonder if others were picking up what you were putting down type thing? I think that's how he felt.

Regardless, I just told him I was proud of him and we went on. I was proud of him and regardless of if he got the job or not, I knew that God had a plan. Again, we focused on where we currently were and we waited. Pin It Now!
 
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