Note: This is part three of a series about our family lifestyle change and move from the coast of California to the country of North Carolina. In case you missed parts one and two, I’ve linked them here.We had found a potential house, a farmhouse. We found a potential school for the kids. They were literally hundreds of yards from one another. Was this a sign?! It was then that my husband and I looked at one another and said, “I think this is it, I think this is the sign we’ve been looking for.”
That summer, we took our family trip to Wilmington, North Carolina to meet up with our family friends at their beach house. This year though, the trip was more than just a vacation getaway.Just before we left, we sat down with the kids and told them that this trip was going to be a little different than trips from the past. We had discussed the idea of making a lifestyle change with them previously and they were open to the idea. We told them that part of this trip was going to be spent exploring the area more and looking at it through different eyes. We wanted them to consider the idea of not just vacationing there, but living there.
Yes, eyes got very big at the discussion table. We explained to them that we had a tour scheduled at a school we thought would be a great fit for them. We also thought that since it was so close, we could visit a farmhouse we’d seen for sale online. This idea was met with openminded skepticism, which was enough of an opening for me, so I took it!
I wish I could express the nervous excitement I felt when the plane landed in Wilmington. I thought to myself, “I may be calling this place my home one day.” It seemed surreal to imagine.
During our week in Wilmington, we explored the area a lot and had some very deep conversations with our friends while visiting. At that time, they were the only people who knew we were considering moving out of California to the south.
As the day approached when we were supposed to go tour the school, I could hardly sleep the night before. Not because I was nervous about the kids not liking the school, I mean I was a little nervous, but I had done a ton of research and felt pretty confident that they were going to love it. I was mostly nervous because, after the tour, we were scheduled to meet up with the real estate agent at the farmhouse.
This house had been all I could think about for weeks since the minute my husband had shown it to me back in California. It had already stolen my heart. Granted, I had only seen photos of it online, but I had seen enough to know that it checked just about all the wishlist boxes, and the potential to make it our forever home was tremendous.
You see, I had already pretty much fallen in love with the idea of moving. The more I thought about the slower pace, the less stressful lifestyle, and country living, the more I wanted it. I was worried that if this house wasn’t “the one”, we’d be starting back at square one, the process would be delayed, and for “a planner” like me, that was going to be devastating. I spent much of my time leading up to that day telling myself, “Meeghan, don’t get your hopes up,” … too late!The school tour went perfectly. The kids loved it and literally asked us to enroll them before it was even over. If we’re being honest, it was the panini maker in the dining hall that sealed the deal. I mean, who doesn’t love paninis?! Of course, I was beyond elated that they loved the school as much as I thought they would. One hurdle down!
As we got in the car to head over to look at the farmhouse (a two-minute drive), my heart began beating a mile a minute. Nervous excitement was filling my entire body.
As we rounded the corner and turned down the long U-shaped driveway I felt a smile take over my face. Literally, my eyes started welling up with tears. “Oh my gosh!” I thought.
The expansive front lawn was so green and lush. I looked to my left and there was a gorgeous little pond with a dock and a bench. It was like a perfect painting. Beyond the pond was a little barn. The tall green pine trees and hard woods that blanketed the back of the property were breathtaking.We pulled up to the front of the farmhouse where we were met by the most beautiful and welcoming front porch I had ever seen. I mean when you think of southern living the first thing you imagine is sipping on sweet tea out on the front porch. Am I right?! I had always wanted a front porch. This was truly like a dream come true! My heart was doing cartwheels and I was trying my best not let on that I was officially falling in love with this house with every passing second.
We got out of the car and my husband and I looked at one another over the roof of the car. We were both smiling. I wish I had a photo of that moment because we locked eyes and it was as if his eyes said to me, “I know,” and my eyes said to him, “This is it!”
I walked up the front steps to the porch and with each step, I kept telling myself, “Calm down, Meeghan! Calm down. You still haven’t seen the inside. You don’t know that this is the one.” That’s the thing though… I did know!
The realtor opened the front door for us. As I stepped inside, it was at that moment I knew, as long as there was nothing structurally wrong with this farmhouse, I had just walked through the threshold of our new home in North Carolina.
The house had so much potential. It did not have an open-concept floor plan, it was dark, and it needed some serious updating, but the bones were good and with some work, we could make this house our forever home. My mind was reeling with ideas!
The kids could have cared less about the house. They fell in love with the property. The first thing on their wishlist if we made this move was a pool. Check! Add in the pond stocked with fish, the horseshoe pit, the expansive grass and woods they could play in all day, every day (spoken like a true Cali Girl who knew nothing about how prevalent poison-ivy was in the south-that’s a story for another day), and they were smiling from ear to ear.As we were getting ready to leave, the realtor handed us a carton of eggs. “The owners wanted you to have these,” she said. “Wait! There are chickens here?” I asked. Before she could answer, the kids bounded out the front door to the barn we saw when we drove in.
Once we caught up with them, we were introduced to a dozen chickens in a chicken run off the barn and a Potbelly Pig named Phoebe. She was ginormous and sweet as could be. There was also a crazy goat that just kept ramming his horns into the chain-link fence that separated him from us. Being a family of animal lovers, we spent most of our house tour time out at the barn.Once we said goodbye to all the animals, we got into the car. As we drove away, I felt a sense of euphoria. My husband said nothing and just held my hand. This was it. This was going to be our new home. I sat silently and stared out the window trying to imagine what life would be like in Wilmington, North Carolina. I had such a sense of nervous excitement as I listened to the kids talking about what animals they wanted first.
In that instant, the dream of making a lifestyle change became a reality. We were officially going to trade freeway traffic for backroads, briefcases for feed buckets and I was going to finally have a front porch!
To be continued…