This past Sunday, we eagerly RAN out the door of our Kempsville Virginia Beach neighborhood. The girls were packed, we were ready to pick up the key. THE KEY to our home in the place of our dreams, the Outer Banks. Mike still hadn’t seen it, but he trusted me. I told him several times that it was definitely not the nicest condo of all time. In fact, it was going to be a big downgrade. Less room, walls desperate for new paint, messed up fixtures but all in all– everything was working..so it was livable and good enough for the girls.

We opened the door, and first off– we had forgotten to call the electric company to have it started in our name, but you know what? It was a light and breezy day in the 70’s..so windows open and we were fine.

Mike looked around. He checked out the rooms, bathrooms, the closets. He was quiet, so I was getting worried. The whole time I’m thinking..great..he doesn’t like this condo and I’ve totally broken his heart because he thought it was going to be a better place. I started to slowly come down from my omg-we-just-got-the-key high and melt down a little inside thinking I may have made a mistake.

Just when I was getting really worried and finally asked him “do you not like it? you’re being really quiet, I feel like you don’t like it” — he looked at me with that really soft, sweet grin that brings me home every time and said “I love it..I can’t believe we are really here and doing this”.

We had the windows open, my sister and her girlfriend came to spend some time with us while we were there. We bought our little plants, and more beach gear and some snacks that didn’t require refrigeration…lol 🙂 We were so sad to not be able to stay that first night because we didn’t have power but the next day, we called, had it turned on and YES– I packed the girls back up, and the car as full as I could..and drove back down and we spent the next two nights..all four of us..on an air mattress.

So there we were. On an air mattress, just living the dream in this little empty condo. Windows open, salty air breeze filling us with peace. Cammy looking to me TIME after TIME..telling me “I’m so happy here!” “I love OBX!” “I love our new home in the OBX!” — all kinds of incredible things. This little girl was meant to be here, she is so in love and obsessed and it drives me WILD with contentment to see that and know we’re giving it to her!

Some of you are going to visit us. Some of you are going to meet me there when we mentor together. Some of you will see pictures.

I will tell you right now, it’s a downgrade. It’s not awful, I may be making it sound bad..but it’s old, outdated cabinets, needs a paint job — a downgrade. But it’s okay. We are more happy than we have ever been and our hearts are BEGGING for it to be Saturday so we can be all moved in!

No more Target 5 minutes away. No more Panera. No more Moe’s. Things I selfishly thought I couldn’t live without. When I stopped shopping SO much for things like clothes and accessories and realized what was important, I felt happier. What if you vowed to stop shopping or spending frivolously for one month? What if you changed your perspective and scheduled more family time somewhere you love? It could really be the wake up call you need and something that could change your family’s life forever. Today..we booked a small and affordable vacation for 5 days to Disney World for our girls in the Fall because life is short and THAT is what is important. Not these material things and trying to keep up with people who don’t matter. All that matters is you and your family. That’s it. It really is that simple. 

I just wanted to thank a certain person who commented on my status the other day about our move, Ashley! Well — thank you to everyone, but a big thank you to this girl who pointed out the obvious that I wasn’t seeing. We did get rid of and sell a lot of material possessions to make this move. We always thought the next step was buying a big two story four bedroom house. Instead..we went in the other direction and turned our lives around and planted our souls where they belong. And also below..some of our adventures over the past two days! 🙂

1958243_10100960035119057_1560091986002788872_n 10376339_10100960323361417_8616182284577119005_n 10410493_10100960615256457_1254056397278362852_n1526715_10100962102745517_2969319588587145666_n 10247341_10100963565040067_8802334438215694950_n 10273743_10100963055191807_2714302304694103257_n 10291127_10100962704454687_748699800776855520_n 10296897_10100962890441967_626281813877719597_n 10347562_10100961972810907_9184221359640953586_n 10366276_10100961700077467_1801106219622380367_n10341530_10100961212285007_7479430523820224670_n

Posted by:amandahedgepeth

Hey there! We're a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.

9 replies on “Downgrading Materials & Upgrading Happiness | Personal

  1. I love this so much! How fun that now you can support other small businesses like your own by eating at their restaurants and shopping at their stores rather than going to the corporate dogs like Target every day! It is so beautiful so see how humble you are about downgrading to better your family life! So inspiring girlfriend!!

  2. An upgrade to ones mental happiness is FAR superior to material possessions. The only person one should be competing with is ones self, and the only thing that needs to be improved and competed against is ensuring that your’re a better person today than you were yesterday. 🙂
    ENJOY that new HOME!!

  3. Welcome to our Outer Banks! I have lived here since 1972 and just love it. The air, the people, the laid back atmosphere…all of it. You will not miss those shops you mentioned. It is a great trade off. Simpler way of life. Family is what it is about and I think your kids are going to love growing up OBX Style. Jeannie at Village Realty OBX

  4. I love your story! My husband and I dream of living at the Outer Banks with our two children as well. Do you mind if I ask about the type of job or jobs you guys found there?

    1. Hey Rachel!! I’m a wedding photographer so I’m pretty versatile when it comes to location, and he commutes now to his current job at GEICO in Va Beach! We thought it would be worth it to be able to live where we were happy so it works for us!!! 🙂

  5. I love love love your story!-“downgrading …..- I too have always dreamed of moving to OBX- Hatteras- my townhouse is up for sale now- in Yorktown Va- I am retired from the USPS and have been babysitting my grandchildren for the past 6 or 7years- but it’s time for me to get to my dream now- my 65th birthday is June15th a I’m ways past ready to make this dream come true- I just want to maybe rent a place for a year to see how I do and then maybe buy- get a part time job – you guys are brave to do what you did- I’m happy for you- it inspires me to continue on with my plans- good Luck! Much love and happiness to your family:)

  6. So excited for all four of you! Isn’t it amazing how much actual life is put in perspective when we stop buying all those things thinking they will give us happiness? I’ve had a similar realization this year! Good luck with the move and so excited to welcome you as a NC photographer! XOXO

Leave a Reply