There has been so many big changes in our lives the last 2 months! We have moved out of Chicago to Tampa. We are officially Tampa residents!!
A little back story: I have been wanting to move back to Tampa really bad for years. I moved from Tampa to Chicago 10.5 years ago. I loved the area we lived in, I love the people and I love the food. It was a great place to live. But it never felt like home to me. Every time I came back to Tampa to visit my family, Tampa felt like home.
For 2 years John and I have been seriously talking about moving to Tampa. We knew the timing had to be right for this move to happen. With 2 young kids we can’t just pick up and throw our stuff into a car, drive down and figure it out when we get there. Everything had to be right for this move to be possible.
For 2 years John has been looking for jobs in Tampa and nothing has worked out. We started to wonder if this was ever going to happen for us. Our kids get older every year (obviously!) and I was starting to think our window of perfect timing for them was closing. I wanted to move when they were young enough that it is easy to start over.
Then… 2 months ago I was offered my dream job!
Since then everything has fallen into place so easily. We listed our condo for sale, 2 days later we had 3 offers. John and I flew down to look at properties the beginning of June. There was only 1 place that I wanted to live in and really saw my family in. We didn’t think we were going to get it because the owners had a cash offer on the table. At the last minute the cash offer pulled out and the house was ours!
2 weeks ago the movers came to our house and packed up everything. They worked from 8:30am till after midnight. That day was a whirlwind of emotions. I was so excited this day had finally come. But when I saw them packing up my home and memories and moving them out I got very emotional. I cried on and off the entire day.
With such a big change there is always a level of feeling nervous, scared and anxious. All the ‘what ifs’? Especially for me, I am a huge planner and have to have my entire life planned out. Having a concrete plan keeps me calm.
Our moving truck arrived here in Tampa 6 days ago. Since then I have been an unpacking freak. I have been working from the minute I wake up till after midnight every day. I can’t stand living in a house with boxes. I want this house to feel like home as quickly as possible.
Just yesterday it started to feel a little like home. Even Sofia said at breakfast “today this house feels like my home, I like it here”. That made my heart so happy to hear her say that!
So what are we doing in Tampa (other that enjoying the warm weather and living by my family)? Like I said, I was offered an amazing job! I am going to be working for my sister! I am the Business Manager for Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics!!! (pause for freak out!)…
I am over the moon excited for this opportunity!
Since I will be returning to work full time (I have been a stay at home Mom since Sofia was born almost 8 years ago), John will now be working part time from home, taking on more of a stay at home Dad role. When John and I decided to have kids we both agreed that one of us will always be at home with the kids while the other works full time. We want to be the ones raising our children. That has always been priority #1 for us.
John is really excited about this change! He loves being at home, taking care of the kids, grocery shopping, cooking. Some times I feel like he’s more domestic than I am :) He is the most amazing cook! He may have missed his calling as a chef!
I am going to continue my blog, don’t worry! I love doing my blog and I don’t think of it as work. It is a fun place for me to be creative and express myself. It is my happy place when life is stressing me out.
So yeah, a lot of changes!! All 4 of us are very excited for this new adventure. The kids are already settling in and feeling at home. Almost all of the boxes are unpacked. This week I am working on decorating and all the details of the home.
Thank you so much for following along with me on my journey. It means so much to me to have such amazing readers like you who actually care about me and my family.
PS- This picture is not in our new home. It was taken in Chicago before we moved :)
?? Q & A
I asked you all on Snapchat to send me any questions you have about what’s going on in my life. As promised I am answering them! The majority of my questions were about what John is doing for work, why we moved to Florida and about my kids. I love that you care so much about my family!
Q: Was it hard leaving home? Leaving the memories you left behind?
A: This is the question I have been staring at, thinking about and ignoring for hours. I know I need to answer this but it is the hardest (I will start to cry alone at my computer while typing). To answer… YES! I lived in Libertyville for 10.5 years, I made it my home. Although it never truly felt like home, I worked hard to make it home, which made it home. I have memories all over the house I left. First everythings for my kids, a growth cart we marked on their doorways, birthdays.
Both my kids were born there. It is all they know. It is all my husband knows, he was born and raised there. I worked hard to make amazing memories for my family and raise my kids in a great community. We were surrounded by John’s family. I have amazing friends. That’s not easy to leave.
I had to constantly remind myself what we were moving to, not what we were leaving. Because if I thought about what we are leaving I would spend a day in bed crying (which I did!).
Q: What is John doing for a job?
A: He is still working for the same company he was working for in Chicago. They allowed him to transfer to Tampa, cut back on hours and work from home.
Q: How close are you living to Jaclyn?
A: Very close, less than 10 minutes away.
Q: Tips on moving to be as stress free as possible?
A: Oh man! No move is stress free! This could be a whole post in itself! It is so much work, and with is comes stress no matter how happy you are with the move. To make is less stress, I gave away a ton of stuff before moving. I loved purging anything I wasn’t using or I knew I wouldn’t need in my new house. I loved giving nice things to my friends that I knew they would enjoy. It is so stressful to pack an item you never use then unpack it and find a place for it knowing you will never use it.
The other advice I have is to say good bye to your closest friends and family, in a meaningful way, before your move date. Moving day is emotional enough, you won’t be able to give your friends and family what you want and they need. Plan a time a week before to spend quality time together and say your good byes.
Q: Which house do you like better, new or old?
A: I like my new house better! We had outgrown our old house a year ago and had planned on moving this summer to something bigger (even before the news of my job and our move to Tampa). We finally moved into a space big enough for our family where we can all breathe and feel comfortable. It is such a great feeling! Not to mention, I love the finishes of our new house so much more! Our last house we rented, I hated so many of the finishes and wanted to change them so much!
Q: What was the most difficult part about moving?
A: Leaving friends and family. I have made the most incredible friends. As an adult, it’s so difficult to made friends that you feel connected to and that you can call your best friend. Every time I thought about leaving them I would cry, even if I was alone in my bedroom.
John’s entire family is there, it was very hard to leave them. I’ve lived across the country from my family for more than 10 years, so I know how difficult it is to not be by family. We are close with his family and it was extremely difficult to say good bye and leave.
Q: How did you organize to move in such a small timeframe and how did you remain conflict free?
A: Haha, definitely not conflict free! With moving in such a short timeframe there is a lot of pressure and stress. I basically spent every free moment working on the move. We had the movers pack up our things, that was a huge help! John and I tried to stay focused on why we were moving, constant communication and try not to take any stress out on each other.
Q: Other than being close to your family, what are you enjoying most about being in Tampa?
A: Since being here, I haven’t done much beside unpack boxes. But so far the things I am loving is seeing palm trees everywhere I go. We live really close to the water. A lot of the time when I am driving somewhere I see the water, and that just makes me feel happy. I’m also loving the food!! There are so many more healthy options for eating out.
Questions about my kids:
Q: How do you feel the school system is from a northern suburb of Chicago compared to Tampa, FL?
A: I can let the cat out of the bag now that I moved. We lived in Libetyville, IL, a suburb about 35 minutes north of Chicago. The school district in Libertyville is one of the best in the country. I was extremely nervous about moving to a state where they are not known for good schools. I spent countless hours researching the best public schools and private school options. We based our home search around the best public schools I found. When we came down to search for a home we took the time to talk to locals and ask them about the schools. I feel confident sending my kids to the public school here. John and I are both very involved parents in our kids education. We watch over homework, talk to our kids every day about their school day and discuss with them how everything is going. And in the event the public school doesn’t work out, there is an amazing private school down the street.
Q: How did the kids feel about moving?
A: They were mostly excited. Of course there was some sadness about leaving friends and the familiar. We focused on the positives of the move, so therefore they talked mostly about the positives. When they had anxious feelings we were always there for them in any way they needed.
Q: Are your children exited to be in Florida?
A: Since getting here in our house any anxiousness they had has gone away (except going to a new school). They love knowing they have warm weather all year. They love going to the pool and playing with their cousins. Sofia is in love with all the lizards running wild around our house! She chases them all day.
Q: How hard was the decision to change Sofia and Caleb’s school?
A: Caleb is finished with preschool and going into kindergarten, so he is changing schools no matter what. Sofia never felt a connection with her class or her school. So it was very easy to change schools for them.
Q: Did your daughter being bullied help you guys decide to move?
A: I’m touched that you remembered this and thought about this as a factor for our move. As I talked about above that I have wanted to move for some time now. When the bullying started it was just 1 more reason to move. When we told our kids we were moving to Florida, one of the first things Sofia said was “now I can go to a school where girls are nice to me”. I pray to God she meets nice girls and we don’t have a repeat!
Q: Were your kids sad to move away from their friends?
A: Yes! They have such amazing friends they are so close with. They both had moments of tears when they were sad to leave their friends. It was so hard to watch. And I totally get it!