Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Changes... Part 1

We have had the quite the last couple of weeks! We have a few announcements to make, and I'll put the first one in this post.

We are moving to Greensboro!

Ben's company has another office in Greensboro, and his boss warned us a while ago that he'd be moving the team over there.  Neither of us were excited to go, and tried to avoid it as long as possible. We soon realized that the opportunity to move was really a blessing from the Lord.  

Our Story: 
We moved to Hickory last summer, and had very little time to find a decent place to rent.  I really wanted to live in a house, so we limited our search to three-bedroom homes.  We decided on one home that was built in the 70's and needed lots of love.  I took a lot of time to repaint the walls and set up a comfortable home, but the continued structural problems made comfortable living difficult.  Over the last few months our landlord has delayed and avoided making necessary repairs.  Even though our lease is not officially up until the end of August, we agreed that living in the house was causing a lot of darkness and stress in our lives.  We sent an e-mail to our landlord and asked him to consider breaking our lease early; allowing us to move on, and giving him the time and freedom to make repairs without tenants bothering him about it.  The response we received was very hurtful, judgmental, and defensive.  He refused our request. That made a bad situation absolutely toxic. 

 Ben and I thought of all our options: we compiled all extensive evidence showing our landlord's avoidance, consulted legal aid, considered the cost of moving out, etc.  Ben's dad helped us understand that if the company insisted on a job transfer it could be a blessing from the Lord to get out of our house. Once we resigned ourselves to that fact and prayed that our landlord's heart would be softened, he conceded! Ben asked one more time if he was willing to let us break the lease early, and he replied with an apology and said we could work out leaving whenever we need to.  

No matter how strong my testimony is, I am constantly strengthened through these experiences.  I am overwhelmed and so happy to know that we were able to recognize a blessing from the Lord, and that He was willing to help us and bless us once we were willing to accept it! 

Blessings from the Lord continued. We decided on a Thursday to accept the move to Greensboro and to go as soon as possible: The end of June. That Saturday we made our first (and thought our only) trip to town for house hunting.  We were sure that we would rather have an apartment, condo, or townhouse after our disastrous experience with a house! We spent the entire day in appointments at various complexes in a great part of town that is about 15 min. from Ben's new office, but that weekend felt a strong impression that we should stay as close to Ben's office as possible.  That way he could come home from work for lunch to spend extra time with his family-- very enticing, since he'll be working full-time and doing an online MBA this fall!

Well... that meant another trip to GSO for apartment-hunting! We made time to do it, and found the perfect place: a 1,200 sq ft. townhouse 5 minutes from Ben's office! 

It is perfect! The owner is an early 30's single man who spent the last five years gradually updating the house. It feels completely modern and beautiful! It is the only place we saw that we wouldn't want to change a thing! Because he is moving unexpectedly, he was willing to rent it to us at a reduced rate-- double perfect!

We were pretty worried that our impression to move close to Ben's office would mean terrible housing options, but we were willing to take the chance because we felt that it was important.  This AMAZING place and all it's perks just fell into our laps.  It is truly incredible what blessings the Lord has in store for you when you submit your will to Him!

We also found out that the oldest National Park in the country is in Greensboro, and has great mountain biking and running trails, plus some lakes for kayaking :)

We are really excited! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Universal Studios!

Last week my side of the family all met in Orlando, FL, to celebrate Mother's Day at Universal Studios/ Harry Potter World.  It was a treat from my mom including a 3-day park pass, breakfast at the "Three Broomsticks", early admission to Harry Potter World, and a 4-night stay at a nearby hotel.

Tha Fam: 
From L to R:
Ben, me, Mom, Andy, Megan, Noah, Brett, Ben
Kids L to R:
Will (10), Drew (4), Colin (7), Cat (almost 6), Eliza (14 mos), Jack (3)

Bringing 14 people together (including 6 kids aged 10-14 mos), driving 10 hours (each way), and spending three  days in an amusement park is EXHAUSTING, but we had such a blast!

Check it out...

(Note: After hours of troubleshooting, the song attached is LITERALLY the only one that worked out of my entire iTunes library.  I really do love my family.)

One of the top things about this trip is that it was in mid-May, the slowest time of the year! The longest we EVER had to wait in line was about 30 mins, which only happened twice.  Every other time we basically spent the posted 5-min wait time walking to the front of the line and waiting for the next ride to come up.  In a word: PERFECT.

Here is a vid to prove it of Ben, me, Brett, and Andy (the videographer) literally running the ENTIRE way to the front of a major roller coaster, Dueling Dragons, and being the only ones riding it!

Other highlights:

- Seeing Harry Potter World the first time... it was a really cool feeling. 
- Drinking Butterbeer, the famous HP drink.  It always sounded disgusting to me, but it is awesome! 
- My nephew, Colin, was just old enough to be scared of almost every ride.  He did decide to go on one slow roller coaster with me, though, and I got to see how excited he was afterward at how fun it was and how  proud he was of himself.  Great moment to witness!
- The Mummy rollercoaster (my favorite).  It is fun from the begining, but in the middle turns into an indoor roller coaster the sends you rolling in the dark-- you never know what turns it will take!
- The Rockin' Roller Coaster. It lets you choose your own song to ride along to, which really customizes and enhances the amazing roller coaster experience
- Having my brother fly in from Cali.  My sisters and I can get together pretty easily, but we were lucky to have him around, too. 
- Celebrating Mother's Day with my siblings and Mom at Emeril's famous restaurant... The mushroom soup I ordered is one of the best soups I've ever had.  And I'm a soup connosieur!
- Celebrating Andy's and Jack's b-days.  Andy actually liked the QR code T-shirt I made him. Awesome! He is so hard to impress! 

Thanks so much, Mom! 
We love you, and everyone else we got 
to spend time with! 
(But we're not going back to Orlando any time soon...)