Big Things

One of my biggest blogging pet peeves is when someone says something like, “Something big is happening! But I can’t tell you what it is yet.”


Ahem. I’m okay.

Anyway, something big is happening over here. And it’s been in the works for quite a while, but until everything was settled, I didn’t want to talk about it much (by which I mean at all).

We are moving to North Carolina.

Bart’s been accepted to Duke’s MBA program (a top ten program! What’s a blog for if not to brag about your smarty-pants spouse? No point at all), and so in a few weeks, we’ll pack up all our belongings and drive ourselves out to Durham, where we’ll spend the next (almost) two years.

Bart has wanted to do an MBA for nearly our entire marriage. Last year, he applied to BYU’s MBA program and was accepted and we came very close to going, but at the last minute, we decided we’d rather defer and have Bart try to get into a higher-ranked school if he could.

In the weeks before Ani was born, we spent a lot of nights working on his applications together. The day after we brought Ani home from the hospital, he flew to North Carolina to interview (I am so so grateful my mom was here). In April, Landen and Adam kept Ella for the weekend, and Bart, Ani, and I visited Durham for Blue Devil Weekend.

Until that weekend, I’d continued to have reservations about the MBA, but when we were there, I was completely sold. I’m thrilled about this new adventure for our family and for all the opportunities ahead for Bart.

He’ll be quitting his job and attending full-time, which means I’ll be the sole breadwinner over here. If you’ve noticed an uptick in sponsored posts over the last few months, that’s why. So we can buy groceries and possibly turn on the lights in our house until May of 2015.

We’re renting a little house (a house! You guys, I’m so so excited – I haven’t lived in a house since we sold ours back in 2009. The idea of having a garage is making me a little sick with excitement. Also a hall closet. I might possibly not have to store my vacuum in the pantry), and we haven’t seen it yet, so cross your fingers it turns out to be decent.

I’m ignoring the horrifying “boxing up our entire lives” and the heartbreaking “leaving all my friends in Austin” bits of the equation and just getting excited about a new chapter in our lives.

It’s pretty fun to move somewhere knowing exactly how long you’ll be there, since it really is encouraging to make the most of that time. I already have a very long spreadsheet of things I want to do while we live in North Carolina.

And of course, there is lots to look forward to after the MBA as well, including paying off mountains of debt (wait. . . I’m not really looking forward to that part), moving somewhere new (again!), buying a minivan (oh yes, I have no doubt I’ll be a minivan mom once we have three kids), and settling into a house (assuming we move somewhere that a normal person can purchase a house).

Also, I’m feeling happy that Duke’s color is blue, rather than the deeply unflattering burnt orange of UT-Austin.

When we were at Blue Devil Weekend and they passed out these shirts, 
Bart said, “I’m really excited to get free t-shirts again.” 


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  1. Congratulations!!!! Such a huge accomplishment for your family, I am in awe of families with a parent/spouse going to school full time. I grew up in North Carolina and can officially say it is one of the most beautiful states to live in. The mountains! The coast! Gorgeous. I can't wait to hear about your adventures there, I will be living vicariously through you.

  2. Congratulations! My husband is crazily obsessed with Duke basketball so Duke holds a special little place in my heart even though I have never been there. Also, we lived in Virginia for four years and I would give almost anything to live back in the area – love it!

  3. Congratulations! It's so exciting to start a new chapter. My husband got an MBA and after it brought us to Charlotte. I love North Carolina, so much. I can't even tell you. Don't tell my mom, but I love it more than where I grew up on the coast of California. You'll love it!

  4. Congratulations. My dad grew up in NC so we have been tgere plenty of times to visit family. It is such a beautiful state. Good luck in your new adventure!!!

  5. Exciting! Congratulations! I spent 4 summers in Georgia and ventured up to NC a few times – it us beautiful.

  6. Hooray! We lived in Raleigh/Cary for 3 years while my husband did grad school at NC State. I love NC…we both wish we could go back. You're going to make me miss it like crazy when you start blogging about all the fun things to do (and eat)! Congrats!

  7. Yay! Yay for Bart! Yay for a new city! Yay for the east coast! I was wondering when this news would become blog-public! Although I have deep hatred for Duke (GO, TERPS!), I love you and your family, so I can rise above. I am that big of a person over here. 🙂

    And, wow, supporting your family on blog earnings — that sounds … stressful to me. How are you feeling about it? Would you be open to blogging on that?

  8. Congratulations! I'm excited to learn more about North Carolina through your posts. I've had several friends go to Duke for undergrad or grad school and all have loved it.

  9. Awesome! Congratulations! We are not too far from you guys in Virginia, if you ever want to go to Colonial Williamsburg, let us know. We can get you discounted tickets.

  10. Congrats on this exciting time in your lives! We lived in VA Beach for a year and loved the area. Visit the Outer Banks in September or October – the ocean is still warm, the weather is usually decent, and it's a lot less crowded and cheaper. Enjoy – can't wait to hear more about your time in North Carolina.

  11. That is great news. The packing unpacking part of moving is not my favorite. Way to go Bart! What a great adventure for your family.

  12. Oh WOW! That is awesome! Congrats to you guys! I live in NC and work in Raleigh, so if you want to meet up sometime, that would be awesome.

  13. CONGRATS! I'm from Durham, born and raised in the Durham First Ward and my parents still live there (but now they live in Durham Fourth Ward). Did you know a blonde Emily from our floor on T-Hall? She lives there now too. I am really jealous you're going there! I want to move back, but my husband is getting his MBA here in Austin for another year. Good luck! I really think you'll love it there! Oh and I'm a huge Blue Devils fan, just went to a basketball game over Christmas (by the way, there are no other sports in NC). Make sure you go to at least one, they are insane!

  14. Congrats! How exciting for you guys, you will be in my prayers as you make the move and start a new chapter in your lives!

  15. You may know that I went to UNC for my undergrad. I loved it, and I think about it almost every day. I miss it terribly.

    It's a shame Bart chose such a terrible school, but everyone makes mistakes.

    (But seriously, congrats to him and your family. I'm happy for you and a little envious.)

  16. Congrats! My husband also went back to business school (we moved to Evanston, not NC – similar adventure though), and I absolutely recommend taking advantage of any kind of spouse/family program that the MBA program offers – most b schools have wonderful resources in place to help you acclimate to a new city. Good luck and congrats to Bart! I look forward to hearing more about your journey 🙂

  17. Oh! Cool! Huge congrats to Bart! I'm so excited for you guys! You know I grew up in Durham, right, and my parents still live there so I go there at least once a year? So a) let's get together next time I'm there! (Probably not til next spring due to impending baby, etc.) And b) if you have questions/need info/want restaurant recommendations and so forth, shoot me an email!

    Good luck with the move! Durham is awesome and has become a really cool little funky urban center in the past few years. You'll love it!

  18. Janssen… I am too excited that we will be in the same state! What an exciting time for your family (um, go Bart! Talk about tough competition.) and yes, there are all kinds of things to do and see here. You guys will love it! Praying for a smooth time of packing and general upheaval in the weeks ahead…

    I'm so excited for you! And me! But mostly you 🙂

  19. How very exciting! My husband went to Duke as an undergrad and keeps saying that he would LOVE to move back to Durham one day. I also know a few women whose husbands completed the Duke MBA and they have such great things to say about the program and about the support/fellowship shared among the MBA students' spouses. I have a hunch that you're in for a great two years!

  20. I'm so excited for you guys! Bring on the sponsored posts–no complaints from this reader! Sending good thoughts for the packing (and subsequent unpacking) parts of your adventure!

  21. Oh wow!! Congratulations!!! I have a solid double handful of friends who are in Durham/at Duke (and a cousin is starting a nursing program there this fall). Yay for you ad your famil!

    Also, scary-exciting about the new change in earning dynamics! Would you be willing to post (or email) the things that we bloggers who love you can do to help generate more pennies, dimes, or dollars for you?


  22. Wow, thats huge! We (When I say "we," I mean WE, b/c it was a joint process) applied to a school in North Carolina and it was my #1 choice for location. But when he got into Columbia it was kind of like "Let's just take on heaps of loans and go Ivy League!" and my dream of living in North Carolina fell flat. I suppose Manhattan will do. It is a LOT nicer knowing exactly how long we'll be there. Here's to moving to the east coast!

  23. Yay! My cousin went to Duke and he and his family loved living in Durham. And I'm always a huge fan of the south! Good luck with all the moving craziness!

  24. Congratulations! Fuqua is an amazing school!!! And it's really competitive! You must be really proud of your smarty pants husband! Two of my friends went there and loved it (and, I have to say, are doing quite well for themselves post-MBA 😉
    I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time in NC and the girls are going to have lovely adventures. I hope the move isn't too stressful and goes smoothly (I HATE packing and unpacking for moves…)
    I can't wait to read about all your new adventures 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  25. Woohoo! And then? PHOENIX! By the way, Aaron and I were laying in bed last night and I was telling him about a conversation you and I had and he was like, "It's kind of sad that Janssen doesn't live closer so you guys could hang out." I was like, "…we say that every day."

  26. How exciting! Congratulations to Bart! My best friend fro high school went to Duke and became an archaeologist. I have heard really good things about the Research Triangle. I think the weather is pretty moderate there in the winter too. It will be nice to live in a house where the girls will have a yard. Too bad you will be moving away from Adam and Landen. Good luck being the sole breadwinner. Maybe he could start blogging too.

  27. HOW EXCITING! I love North Carolina and (not-so) secretly want to move there. Congrats all around!

  28. You don't know me, but I have enjoyed reading your blog since I found you through Preethi at Lace, Etc. How exciting you are moving. What an adventure. I can't wait to read more about it. I just have to tell you as well, you have pretty great taste in books, my iBooks shelf is full of samples that I want to buy and read all the way through! Thank you for such great suggestions!

  29. Congrats!! I've lived in Cary (outside of Raleigh) all my life. You will love it here! Best place to live! Welcome!

  30. Yay!!! Congratulations!!! Basically the only place Spencer and I will entertain moving to post-NYC (that's not abroad) is NC.

  31. Oh congratulations! I'm so excited for you guys, although I'm sad you'll be leaving Austin because really, Austin is amazing. But my sister (native Austinite), lives in North Carolina, and she absolutely loves it, which means I'm sure you guys will too! Can't wait to read all about your adventure 🙂

  32. Bart spilled the beans to Jeremy a few weeks back, so I am feeling pretty cool that I was "in the know" even though I did not know it was a secret 🙂

    The MBA was a great move for our family and even with the mountains debt, I am thinking you will agree. BYU is very tempting but I always worried (and heard) the BYU brand is not as transferrable around the country (ie BYU has more street cred in the west – not helpful for our North East family). I think Bart love it. So much good stuff to learn – you will enjoy learning along with him!

    I look forward to hearing about your adventures!

  33. YES!!! This is wonderful news! I was born in NC and my family roots run deep in the mountains near Asheville. Hope you make it out that way while you are there. All the best!

  34. YAY! I totally don't know you, but I did the "Whirlwind Weekend in Nashville" for your blog. We lived in Durham for two years while my husband did Duke Med, then we went to Vandy for an MBA for two years, and we just moved back to Durham last week for his last year of med school. I truly hope that we are in the same ward so I can actually meet you in person! I'm going to send you an email, look out for it!

  35. How exciting! It sounds like a wonderful adventure for your family! Good luck, and I will happily continue reading sponsored posts knowing that you will not starve. 🙂

  36. OK, I am so so excited for you! I have told Brad over and over that North Carolina would be an awesome place to live. I can't wait to see what adventures you'll have! And way to go, breadwinner!

  37. Congrats!! I live in Durham and love it! Can give you recommendations on things to do if you'd like 🙂

  38. How exciting for you!!! Everything… the program, the HOUSE, and even getting sponsored posts is exciting. Haha. (Love the blog redesign, too!)

  39. I am so excited for you guys and can't wait to follow your adventure! (Big vague news is totally one of my pet peeves too) 😉

  40. Congrats! That is such great news ~ Durham is an awesome place and I have no doubts you guys will love it. Make sure you come down to visit Charlotte!!!

  41. As a Tar Heel, it pains me just a little bit to see you in that shirt. =) Congratulations & welcome to NC – I think you'll like it here!

  42. how exciting… all of it! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you share pictures all the time of the beauty that North Carolina holds. My best friend lives there and I just fall in love every time I visit.

  43. How fun! It's always exciting (and scary!) to begin a new chapter of life. We're mid-move ourselves right now. And by mid-move, I mean we left Florida and are in Utah on our way to California, where we hope to find a job. (Is it insane of us to move without having a job in place? We hope not!)
    I can't wait to hear all about your fun adventures! And congratulations to Bart on getting accepted to such a great program!

  44. Congratulations, that is exciting! North Carolina is beautiful. You've done a great job keeping the blog "real" while transitioning to more sponsored posts. Good luck with being the bread earner, your blog is great!

  45. Oh my goodness, how exciting!! Congrats to Bart on his acceptance, and good luck with your move! 🙂

    ..and I totally hate when bloggers tease a "something big is coming up soon!" and it's like, why can't you just wait to tell us when it's ready to be announced? Or it ends up being something lame like, "surprise! I'm getting a hair cut!!!!" haha

  46. How exciting! Congratulations for the move and your excellent attitude about it. You'll have such fun!

  47. I have been reading your blog for a while and have never commented, but I just have to say, I live in North Carolina and I'm very excited for you! I love living here and I hope you will too. Duke has a beautiful campus. Congratulations!

  48. In the (unlikely) event I haven't yet expressed how excited I am you'll be a relatively short drive away, well, I am. Hooray!

    (Also, it's possible our 3rd child will feel a little neglected in favor of the minivan we will surely get.)

  49. Congrats! This is super exciting, although I'm sure you will miss Austin. Cheers to big moves this summer (you move East and I'll move West)!

  50. I'm so excited for you guys! Our first MBA year went by really fast, I figure the second will be just as quick! Congrats to Bart (and you) for reaching such a great goal as Duke! Blue has always been my favorite color 🙂

  51. Congratulations to you and yours! I have no doubt that Duke and North Carolina will be wonderful for you guys. I too am also a big fan of blue. 🙂 Good luck!

  52. Congratulations! What an exciting time in you lives. I sincerely admire kids like your husband who are driven and motivated to aspire for higher degrees.

    I've never commented on your blog before, but I've long been a regular reader (drawn by your book posts, in particular, though all your posts are excellent).

    Our good friend JUST graduated from the Duke MBA program in May. He loved it and he and his wife enjoyed their time in Raleigh/Durham very much.

  53. Congratulations! I hear wonderful things about Duke and the area. I can't wait to read all about your adventures there.

  54. Yay! Congratulations to your husband and you'll love NC! I live in NC now. We moved here about three years ago from VA and I LOVE it!

  55. Welcome to the East Coast! I hear so many good things about North Carolina. My husband has some cousins there who love it. The "big things are happening" tease is pretty annoying. 🙂 You did a good job keeping things under wraps.

  56. Congratulations on your new adventure! I have a friend who lives on the East coast and absolutely loves it — and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time there! 🙂

  57. Long-time reader, first-time commenter, 3/4 thru library school…welcome to NC! I live in Cary, just a few exits down I-40 from Durham. It's a lovely area with a lot of kid-friendly and inexpensive things to do. I hope you guys enjoy your stay! 🙂

  58. Congratulations! And way to go Bart! Living in a home will be such a great change and NC should be tons of fun.

  59. Catching up on my blog reading and wanted to let you know that I live in Durham…actually at Duke. I work full-time as a Residence Coordinator and oversee the management of one of the quads. Anyway, you are moving to a GREAT area! Durham has GREAT restaurants that use a lot of local ingredients and lots of vegetarian options. Lots to do with young kids too. Congrats on the move 🙂

  60. Congratulations! That's awesome news, and I am looking forward to more of your posts, you are a fantastic writer!

  61. I knew about the move via IG, but didn't know the details. Sounds very exciting. Congrats to Bart for getting into such a prestigious program and hooray for new and exciting things for your little family.

    (Did I tell you my younger brother served his mission in NC? He absolutely loved it out there.)

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