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A Look Back on our First Year in Florida… Amy’s POV

Wow, what a whopper of a year. We all decided to write our own story about our feelings on the past year because we knew we all would have a different outlook. Since I have been writing most of the blog this past year, you all pretty much know how I feel.  So I had to dig deep and really think about what I could share that would not only enlighten someone out there, but possibly educate and inspire as well.

First, I want to be frank about things. Let’s start with what I would do different about the entire experience.  I would have waited until 2012. Yes, you heard me right. We got excited, we got motivated, and then we jumped the gun. Now I know many of you out there are probably saying “But everything went so well with your move” and for the most part, it did.  But what I had to endure with schools after getting here was something I would have rather only ONE child had to have had to deal with in the first place.

I am so proud of my kids and how they dealt with both of their school situations this year, but in hindsight, I would have loved to have seen Kyra graduate among her friends that she grew up knowing. It was almost painful to watch her graduate among those she only knew for a year, and being very honest here, I felt a lot of guilt.  Did our dream overshadow our children’s futures? It is almost mind numbing to think out loud.  We were caught in a web of decisions before we moved- if we didn’t move in 2011, and Kyra wanted to attend College in FL in 2012- she wouldn’t be considered a resident yet and the cost would be through the roof.  Plus her going to college here in FL during our possible first year of residence would have made her feel left out of all the fun the three of us were having. I don’t know, you just hope and pray that you don’t screw up your kids for life.

I would have let Emily finish up at Highlands with her classmates she loved, and then dealt with the real world of middle school when we got here. Was virtual a bust? No, it worked for what we needed it for- but the alternative to what we left in WI makes me sad she had to do it at all.  All we can do now is move forward with her attending Celebration next year and pray that God protects her heart among the uglies that school can bring.

The only other reason I would have waited one more year to move here would have been to save more money. You can think you are set, you are good with what you have, but you will always find out that there is never enough.  I would have liked to not only have enough, but also enough to be comfortable for everything that would come our way, and not have to deal it out among each paycheck.  For us staying another year in WI meant another cruel and unkind winter that we just could not endure, and funny enough, they had one of the most calm and quiet winters this past year- who knew?!?

Second, I love our home and the area it is in. When we first got here, I was a bit terrified.  Highway 192 was a looming monster nearby that I was SURE I would have to conquer every day, and then we found the Reunion area behind us and I could breathe again.  We were really lucky that we found a home so fast and landlords that are very kind. They even LIVE in this Country! LOL (Many landlords here live out of the USA) We talk on occasion that we probably should have flown out first to check out this home, but it would have cost a lot to do so, and sometimes the leap of faith is just a huge one. We took it, we got lucky, and we are very happy with where we live. I couldn’t imagine life now without a pool and patio- it’s our favorite place on our property.

Third, I am humbly embarrassed that I still haven’t found my church family yet, although I have found Christians that can help me stay on my path to Him. I have been to 3 different churches now, and there has been a spark in my heart when going, but not that “home” feeling I miss with my old church in Appleton.  I am not proud at all that I haven’t spent more time on the search, and it gets to be too easy to sleep in on Sundays and believe you will go the following week only to fall into a cycle that isn’t healthy for any spiritual growth. No, you don’t have to go to be a Christian or continue to be one, but a flower can’t live without the sun, and neither can we. Prayers for us that we find something that we are comfortable with and that sticks in our hearts to help us grow.

Fourth, the experiences I have had over the last year have been simply unforgettable. From the positive ones, to the ones I would love to soon forget, they have all made me what I am today. I can only hope that I have grown and learned from my mistakes- that everything I have done right smarts me up enough to repeat them again and again.  Finding out who you are, who you REALLY are can be the scariest experience you can have. I want to be someone that people are proud of, remembered for the good I brought to peoples lives and that I was a friend to many. I will always say that putting yourself out there for the world to judge is like standing naked in front of a crowd- you don’t know who is pointing, who is laughing, who is mocking, or who is crying because they can’t imagine what you are going through and all they want to do is comfort you. This year gave me the REAL experience of understanding who is there for me, and my family, and who is just here to be curious. Real friends are hard to find, and I sincerely thank you all who have been there for us this year.

Last, would I do it again? Heck yeah! Even with all the trials and tribulations, I feel we came out stronger and happier in the end. We shall see what happens in our 2nd year, thanks again for everything you have done, for being loyal friends and readers, and for enjoying the journey with us. God bless your day!


  1. Thanks, Amy, for sharing this past year with us! I’ve enjoyed every step of the way and will continue to follow and cheer for you and your family. You are a true blessing.


  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences Petermann family, the good and the bad, (which I think is a good thing)…..I am so glad there are only 4 of you because I am almost out of tears right now reading your stories. Thought I had cried my eyes out last night watching the video…..guess I was wrong, as they were leaking again reading this.See you in September guys – you rock!!!! xxxx


  3. Wonderful post, Amy!! Thank you for always providing us with the truth…the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think what you and your family has done is absolutely amazing and you should all be so proud. Of course, there will be bumps in the road and a few things you would like to do over, but that would have happened if you stayed too. You are such an inspiration! You are my “hero”, and I’m so proud to call you my friend! 🙂 You and this blog have made so many things seem possible for me that I used to never think were possible. Thank you! I look forward to your posts every day. I hope year 2 as Florida residents is even more magical!!!


  4. Thank you Amy and family for sharing your lives with us. You inspire people to dream that anything is possible with a little faith and elbow grease. We all pray that this next year is just as exciting and full of love and laughter! God bless you and your family!


  5. Wonderful blog amy!!!! Everything happens for a reason and is part of God’s plan – you just followed God’s plan and look at you now!!!!


  6. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us over the past year Amy. Most of all, thank you for being so open and honest about everything you have gone through. You are real people (not typical internet celebrities) and it is nice to know that we have friends down there when we finally make the move! For now, I look forward to visiting with you guys on a regular basis! God bless!


  7. Thanks so much for sharing. I know you don’t have to share any of this but you do and it keeps us motivated. I’m like, I just want to pack and move tomorrow but I know I can’t. We are waiting for our son to graduate 2013. Then he’ll go to college here in TX and then when he graduates we are moving to FL! Well also in the first yr of him being in college we might move to Corpus. But still in TX waiting for him. Our two little ones will be in middle school by then. But your advise has been a big help on our decision to wait. You’ve been a blessing in our lives. I can’t wait to meet you!


  8. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, good and bad, on your move, and how your year was. Thank you for being YOU! You are a true inspiration to me, and by reading all you post, is definitely helping me make my dream come true. I keep you and your family in my prayers, and I will be praying that the Lord leads you to the right church He wants your family is. One where you can get fed, and grow in Him. Praying much more blessings and favor for this upcoming year, and years to come!!


  9. What a year it has been indeed! I am looking foward to my 1 year anniversary here soon too. Hard to put a year into a few paragraphs but you did it nicely. Thanks.


  10. Awww….I love this! But here I go again, cryin! I have to stop being so emotional! I love these personal perspectives on this relocation, and the experiences you have had. I continue to pray for all of you each day, and He will be with you, because I know your faith is strong. Best wishes for a wonderful 2nd year!!


  11. Thanks for sharing your story! Such a wonderful that you have done for all of us! I can’t wait till we get to move down and get to experience all the wonderful things that your family has done over the past year. Can’t wait to see what you do next!


  12. Amy–

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…you and your family INSPIRE me more and more each day to move down to Florida to live the life I want! Keeping my fingers crossed that within 3 years I will be down there! I just am not happy in Illinois anymore, and I just want to be able to be closer to my happy place and make memories with Kayla, not only at Disney but all around Florida.

    Keep up the GREAT work on the blog-I LOVE it each day! I may not always comment but I am always reading!! And usually smiling and crying (like with the POVs and the video!)

    SOO happy we were able to meet and spend some time together, cant wait til the next time, and I am soo happy to call you my friend!! LOVE YOU!! (hugs)


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