Monday, September 18, 2017

Carolina In My Mind

Heads Carolina, tails California
Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer
Up in the mountains, down by the ocean
Where don't matter long as we're goin'
Somewhere together, I got a quarter
Heads Carolina, tails California


Josh started working with KPMG five years ago last month.  He began his career in Orange County, CA.  Charlotte was born a couple weeks after he started and we went on to having the best year of my life.  Yes, it truly was heaven.  When Charlotte was about 15/16 months old, we moved across the country to Charlotte, NC and Josh transferred to PwC.  We purchased our first home and life was taking some getting used to.  I made some great friends in Charlotte, but I just seemed to have a bad attitude and missed the west.  Around a year and a half later, Josh wanted to get out of Accounting and into a more finance role.  The Charlotte office did not have the department Josh wanted to work with, and that is when we made the move to Atlanta.  
We have really enjoyed living in Atlanta.  We live in a great area, super convenient to EVERYTHING, there is a lot to do, airline flights are really affordable, pro sports teams, five minutes from the Temple, great weather,  we really couldn't ask for more.  But we have never really felt that this would be our forever home.  
As Josh's career has hit five years, the plan was always to leave the Big 4 and work elsewhere.  The five-year-plan.  We thought about the Atlanta suburbs, but something kept pulling us back to Charlotte.  While we lived in NC, we really fell in love with the town across the state border.  Fort Mill, SC.  There is a financial services (name held for privacy) company that just opened a campus there and we had talked for months about how cool it would be to work and live in the same city.  Fort Mill has amazing schools, which was another big draw for us.  It's a small city and really family-friendly.  Josh applied, interviewed and accepted a job with the financial services company  all within a few weeks.  It was a whirlwind.  We had just sold our house in Charlotte (which we have been renting for the last two years) and were ready to purchase a new home.  Fortunately, when we were living in the area the first time, I became very familiar with the different neighborhoods.  We have been sneaking up to SC a lot (sometimes just me) house hunting, meeting with our amazing realtor, Alison, doing walk-throughs, etc.  Last week we were able to close on our house and we couldn't be more thrilled!!  Our new house is like 3.5 miles from Josh's office.  We will be living in Tega Cay, SC.  This is how close it is to our last home: I'll be using the same Walmart, Post Office, in the same church stake, we are only ten minutes from our last house, just in another state.  And we will have Carowinds again!!  Charlotte is more than excited to play at the amusement park!!  It will be great being right outside a big city, with all the perks that come from that, but in the suburbs.  We really will get the best of the Carolinas!
So we have made a big decision to settle down in the South.  If you would have told me this after my church mission to Tennessee, I would have laughed.  Even if you told me when I moved to Charlotte, the first time, that I'd live in the area forever, I'd roll my eyes.  But it just seems right.  I have really come to appreciate the south.  I take a lot of pride in me and Josh living in an unpredictable area.  I thought I would live in Orange County my entire life, and I will say I can still picture a life in the West ;) But living on our own has really strengthened our marriage, family and has really helped me become more independent.  I really am looking forward to setting down some roots, not moving (maybe ever again?), and starting this next stage of life.  And if you're ever passing through, please let me know!!
Here are some highlight photos of the house.  I am no professional photographer, so sorry for the horrible editing jobs.  



Butler's Pantry

Master Bathroom

Thursday, September 7, 2017

5 Years Ago...

...I was relaxing in Orange County with an epidural and waiting for Charlotte to enter the world.  After a stressful few weeks looking for a doctor (yes, we moved from Provo, UT to CA at about 7 1/2 months pregnant), I found one I loved!  I remember never feeling one contraction (please don't hate me) and thinking this whole labor thing was a piece of cake.  I finally felt the need to push, right after I dilated to a 9.  They said, "we just checked you.  You have some time."  Umm...I HAVE TO PUSH!!  So they checked me again and sure enough, I was at a 10, pushed three times and out popped Charlotte.  I was a little overwhelmed and did not do skin-on-skin with her, but Josh did.  It was so amazing to look over at their first bonding moment.  We didn't name her for a couple hours and decided on Charlotte Lyn as her name.  Her middle name comes from both of her grandma's name: Evelyn and Tylyn.  That worked out quiet nicely.  
I instantly fell in love with my little bundle of joy.  She was perfect to Josh and I in every way.  We never let her leave our side.  Any test at the hospital, Josh went with her.  We never sent her to the nursery either.  The day after her birth, Josh had to go move us into our apartment (yep, great timing).  It was horrible.  But I had the whole day with Charlotte.  I remember just looking at her in her little bed and crying, thinking that she was a part of me.  Heavenly Father has trusted me with her.  I couldn't believe I was a mom.  The entire situation was so surreal.  
When we arrived home, Charlotte slept with us until after Christmas.  We just loved having her in bed with us.  Her and I did everything together, especially all of our Disneyland trips.  She went there 98 times in her first little year.  We would visit Josh at work, go on our daily walks and so much more.  
Over the next four years, not much has changed.  She and I still do everything together.  She still sneaks into our room occasionally.  She has major FOMO.  It must be an only child thing.  This last year has been, by far, the hardest.  She is extremely emotional (Josh always says, "I wonder where she got it from."), she is a super picky eater, and there are just a couple other things that have made this year a bit difficult.  BUT on the other hand, she loves her parents, is an excellent student, loves all things Disney, wants to be Moana when she grows up, and is my little side-kick.  She loves to "cut" (with scissors), color, play with all of her toys, swim, go to school, shop with me, and go out to eat (apple doesn't fall far from the tree)! We do everything together.  Watching her go to full-time Pre-K was really tough.  It has become better, but that first week, let's be real, I cried multiple times.  Mostly because I was nervous for her to be away from me and with other adults that don't know her the way I do.  I miss her a ton too.  Sometimes I don't even know what to do with my time (but I'm surviving ;))  



I cannot wait for this day she has been waiting for.  She has been talking about her birthday since Christmas!!  I will be updating another blog post with all her birthday surprises and what we do throughout the day!!

Off to school with her goodie bags!
  

Friday, September 1, 2017

Rise Up!

Last night, Tahnee, Josh and I went to check out the new Atlanta Falcons Mercedes-Benz stadium.  It has been a big topic here in Atlanta lately.  I actually really love that I live in a city where we have major league sports.  It's a lot of fun, even if I do not know that much about the actual sport!  
We took the MARTA to the game.  It allowed us to avoid traffic and parking...win, win!  When we walked up to the street, everyone just stopped to take a picture.  It was "quite a site" as many people were saying.  

We purchased pre-season tickets due to keeping the costs lower than regular season.  I have never been to a NFL game or pro-football stadium, so that was cool.  This new stadium has the cheapest food (our hot dogs were $2!), unlimited Diet Coke ($2!!), an amazing "halo" screen, and a retractable roof.  

With Tahnee living with us for a few weeks, we are trying to get in as many Georgia sites in as possible.  It was a great night to get out in the city and explore something new.  A huge thank you to my friend, Teresa, for holding down the fort with all three kids!!


 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Residency Graduation

This weekend, my brother-in-law graduated from his Army residency.  He has been stationed in Fort Benning, GA for the past year.  It has been so great to have them close by (two hours south).  I was so excited when they found out they were moving to Georgia.  It is all coming to an end, but we have taken advantage of the last year, for sure!!

I went down yesterday to hang out with Tahnee and the kids and then babysit while they went to the residency dinner/roast.  Having a free sitter, they went to the movies after!  I am obsessed with Eleanor and Andrew, so I love any time I get to be with them!

                 

This morning we got ready and headed over to the Infantry chapel for the ceremony.  Tyler received his service ribbon (worn on his uniform).  I don't know why it was so emotional for me.  I guess I kept thinking of all the sacrifices that Army families must give.  There is so much work and sacrifice from those in the service and from their families.  I have had a teeny tiny glimpse into what Army life is like through the Gregory's.  Tyler has worked so hard and Tahnee has been such a supportive wife.  I'm so proud of them and what they have accomplished.  It was really great to be apart of this ceremony today.  

Tyler receiving his service ribbon.
All eight graduates


Families with the graduates



The girls

Hadley and Eleanor's daddy's went to A.T. Sill Dental school and were both stationed in Fort Benning.  We love the Evans family and will be sad to see them leave as well!

The kiddos were great throughout the ceremony.  Except Andrew was so startled every time we had to clap.


Afterward, they had a reception with food for everyone that came.  It was really nice.  And the residents cut the cake with a legit sword.  I was in shock!  It was a really nice day and so glad I could be apart of it!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

This summer, Charlotte has had a lot of summer activities. Unlike last summer, where camps were every day, I just scheduled her for Tuesday and Thursday. That way she can see her friends and have something to look forward to, but not get burnt out. Today was the first Tuesday of no camps!!
Our favorite outdoor mall, the Avalon, has activities for kids every Tuesday, called Little Acorns. We have never been in the almost two years we have lived here because of camp and preschool. We headed up there this morning to see what it was all about. 

Charlotte's lemon dress is from Mommy's Little Sunshine.  Sign up for their #freebie giveaways.  That's when I purchased this dress.  I am obsessed with it.  
There were about six different vendors with different things at their booth. The best part? All the activities were free! Face painting was what Charlotte made a bee line for! Next she decorated a sugar cookie and then played on some of the little playground toys they brought out. 





They have a very miniature size Bellagio water fountain which we watched for some time!!




Every time we go to the Avalon, Charlotte loves playing in PotteryBarn kids. I remind her that everything she plays with there she has at home. But it's always more fun somewhere else!! 


We walked down to PotteryBarn Mom's (as Charlotte calls it haha) and once she started asking for lunch, we headed black home. 

My dress is from Sonnet James.
I hope we can make it back next Tuesday. It was a great way to kill a couple hours and not spend a penny!  And we will see if the yellow bow shows up anymore this week! ;)  

Sweet City Girls

Yesterday was the first Monday where we didn't have anything going on. I knew we needed to get out of the house and do something fun or Charlotte and I were going to drive each other bonkers.
 

We did some morning shopping (went to two malls) and then kept going south into downtown. We purchased World of Coca-Cola passes (again!) when Josh's sister came into town. We love going, walking around and of course, drinking the unlimited Diet Coke. ;) 


When you first walk in, they give you your choice of Coke.  
Next, you go into the "Loft" for a little presentation.  They teach you a little bit of the history of Coca-Cola and show some cool artifacts.  
Next, you watch a feel-good movie in a theater.  It honestly makes me cry EVERY TIME I have watched it.  
The rest of the museum is all self-guided.  My favorite!  

I received so many compliments on my dress.  Maxi with sleeves are hard to come by.  I bought this during my last trip to Utah at Called to Surf.  
For those of you who have never been to Atlanta, there are many tourist traps right in the heart of downtown. In the center of everything is Centennial Olympic Park, where the Olympic ceremony (and bombing) took place. I love going down with Charlotte and walking around, playing at the park, and visiting our favorite tourist attractions.


 Charlotte's dress is from DotDotSmile.  Check out my mom's shop on Facebook!

 For those of you who have never been to Atlanta, there are many tourist traps right in the heart of downtown. In the center of everything is Centennial Olympic Park, where the Olympic ceremony (and bombing) took place. I love going down with Charlotte and walking around, playing at the park, and visiting our favorite tourist attractions.
For more information about what to visit at a great rate, visit City Pass

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday in the City

One of my favorite things to do is go out for breakfast. There is something about that I just get this excitement and starts my day off so good. On Friday, I had mentioned to Josh about going out for brunch this weekend and he didn't hesitate. One thing I have to say, Josh doesn't like breakfast but he knows it's my favorite meal and when I have the right timing, he never objects. ;) 

When I woke up, I made some breakfast for Charlotte, just a little something to hold her over. You know kids...they are STARVING when they wake up! Haha. Then I out on my workout clothes and went for a walk/run. Yes, I ran two different stretches of my walk. I thought to myself, "I might not make It home alive!" But I pushed through. I have always struggled with running and every once in a while I think I can do it. It never lasts long, but I guess it's good to continue to try! 



When I arrived home, we all got ready and proceeded to brunch at Buttermilk Kitchen. It's a hot spot here and I've been once with a group of friends. Josh thought it would be good to go, since he'd never been. The wait was 30 minute. By the time we ate it was 11:00! Our meals were huge. This week has not been good, as far as my "diet" has been going. Ugh. I hate that it's been a bad food week, but it happens. Although this did fill all of us up until dinner!! 



After our yummy brunch, we headed further into the city to ride the SkyView ferris wheel. We have never been on it and Charlotte suggested it earlier in the week. It was fun and I'm so glad we were able to do it. 






View of Olympic Park
Such a cool city


Slide the City was in town 

Josh needed to go into the office to catch up on some work. We were finally able to see where he works! I've never seen his office, the entire time we've been married. It wasn't that exciting but it's nice to picture everything. 




Charlotte and I went and did some "window" shopping around the city and had fun checking out all the shops and Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. She was trying on sunglasses and purses and all the employees were dying. She was so good today!! 





Love Charlotte in the background.  She loves trying on purses like Mom!!
We love this Restoration Hardware store.  Each floor is a different department.  We spent lots of time on the kids floor!
She went back and forth between the tea party and cabin bed.  
We finally headed back home around dinner time. We wanted to go swimming, but of course, it was raining by that time. I love when our Saturdays go so smoothly and we just have fun, no agenda, and no worries. 

Another fun day in the books!