Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards


I feel like I’ve been making a lot of “big announcements” here, but we have had some life changes and it feels like I’ve been holding it in for a while and I’m dying to share it with you!


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards






I mailed off our Christmas cards yesterday and it felt so good to get that checked off my list. I’m really feeling a pop of red this year (which is a little unusual for me) so I decided to run with it for our Christmas cards. I fell in love with this dress from my holiday dresses post (which is unfortunately sold out), and tailored the boys outfits around a red/black/grey/tartan theme. The best part for the boys outfits is that I literally laid down before my 26 minute nap one day and ordered them on my phone from my Target app. I narrowed it down to what was in stock in my local target, selected all my kids sizes and it was ready for my to drive up and pick up 2 hours later.
Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards
Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards
Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards


I made our holiday cards this year with Minted. I’ve trusted them for multiple years with our cards and they offer such classy and chic designs on high quality paper. They just announced that they extended their Cyber Monday sale through today, so you can still get 25% off your holiday cars (with code: CM2019) and free shipping. There is still plenty of time to get your cards mailed out!


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Another announcement…

So our holiday card was extra special this year. Not only are we having a new baby, but we have another really big change happening that we have been keeping quiet over the last few months….

We are building a house!! I’m being totally honest…I never ever thought I would say those words. Living in California has kind of made me immune to that idea. But the other half of this announcement is that we aren’t building a house in California. We are building a house in Charlottesville, Virginia! If you can’t believe that, I am right there with you! I can’t believe it either!


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards


I knew there was going to need to be a move..

For the past year or so I’ve known that Pasadena isn’t going to be our forever home. It breaks my heart a bit because we love it here. However there are just some factors to city living that make it a little tricky to raise a growing family. I had no idea where we would purchase our first home though. We always figured it would be somewhere in Southern California, so we’ve kept our eyes peeled (and Realtor.com apps open). We’ve driven to cities that we thought might be a good fit, but we never got that feeling like we were where our family was supposed to be. 

A little over a year ago, Garrett started working with a firm in Charlottesville. He visited the firm last year and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing Charlottesville was.  I just rolled my eyes and told him to keep dreaming. There was no way I was moving across the country. 


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards


My answer…

For months and months I prayed about where our family needed to be, and one day I decided that I needed to see Charlottesville for myself. Garrett was already heading out there for work so I told him if we were really serious about finding the right place for our family that I needed to give Charlottesville a true chance. I treated the trip as if we were going to move there. I knew I would have one shot to take in the city and see if this was actually something worth considering. 

While we were there we toured the elementary schools, met with a realtor, checked out the city, went to church, etc. And almost the whole trip there I walked around with a lump in my throat. I just kept thinking “the boys would love it here”. I felt it deep in my bones. Charlottesville is beautiful. It’s a really great mixture of land and trees with a cute city charm. There is a downtown area that we fell in love with and I love that there is a University in town. It’s close to DC, New York, South Carolina, DISNEY WORLD…so many new places we can explore. 


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

The actual sign..

Our realtor showed us a newer development where they are building homes and we drove around some of the lots. We pulled up to a lot in a cul de sac situated in the same location that our current home is in our current cul de sac. I looked at the street sign, and the street name was the exact same street name as our current street name. I mean…I’ve been praying for a sign, but this couldn’t have been a clearer answer!

As we flew home I kept quietly wiping away tears. They were mostly happy tears but also freak out tears. How do we tell the boys? How do we tell our family? Are we crazy? But anytime I thought about not moving and staying in California, my mind went blank and I felt fear and panic well up in my chest. It was like I couldn’t see the kind of future I envision for my family here. And I could vividly picture what life would be like for my family in Charlottesville.


Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards

Leanne Barlow Christmas Cards


Sinking in..

After a few more weeks of trying to process everything, we decided that Charlottesville is the right place for our new home. It still doesn’t feel real, and probably won’t for some time! I will have the baby here in California in May and sometime in July make the big move! So until then I have lots of planning and designing and I am so excited. I’ve been working on plans and colors and designs for the new house and I’m really excited for a place I can make 100% my own! I can’t wait to share this crazy process with you all!




Join the Conversation


  1. Charlottesville is amazing!! I go on girls trips there! So many amazing and beautiful things to do! You guys will love it!

  2. I went to school at James Madison University and grew up in Northern Virginia. You will LOVE Charlottesville! I used to visit Cville and close by Staunton a lot for day trips. Enjoy the vineyards and apple orchards!!!

  3. I was born and raised in Virginia – it is heavenly! A fantastic place to raise a family. Best wishes and welcome to the East Coast fam!! xo

  4. I grew up in Richmond and live in NC now, but I’d move to Charlottesville in a heartbeat. You’re going to love it. I’m so excited for you and to follow along on this new chapter. Congrats!!!

  5. I live in Staunton which is 30 minutes from Charlottesville. It’s going to be a big change but this is a great place to live and raise a family. Congratulations!

  6. Congrats!!! that is exactly how I felt when we visited Colorado in 2013. I just felt like I could see raising a family there, and while it was terrifying (I had NEVER left Southern California) it felt wrong when I thought about staying in California and raising a family where we were living at the time. We are so glad we made the move! I can’t wait to see anything you share as you design your home, and as you explore your new citiy!

  7. Charlottesville is a great choice! Congratulations! So many good things coming in 2020!!!

  8. Omg so amazing!!! Virginia is so beautiful. My son is in college in Arlington and we love the area, and just wait until you get to experience Alexandria. The boys will get to experience all four seasons. This is going to be such a great change.

  9. Congratulations!! So happy for you and your family. Virginia – and Charlottesville is incredible. Can’t wait to follow along on your adventure. Wishing you and your’s the best holiday season ever 😍

  10. So exciting! I’m so glad you got to experience Charlottesville! We loved in Richmond for a couple years and although the east coast is rather different than the west coast it is such a wonderful place! You won’t be too far from the new Richmond, VA temple when it is built! What a wonderful time to plan for for your family!

  11. I thought the big announcement was that you’re having twins! Congratulations on getting out of California. Smart. We keep talking about it too.

  12. Love Charlottesville! We live in North Carolina and I took my daughter to a week long summer camp at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello! Enjoyed the area. Congrats!

  13. How exciting! I’m a Virginia native and still leave here about 2 hours north of Charlottesville. What an amazing opportunity for your growing family. I know you will love it! Also, you get all 4 seasons and I can’t wait to see the outfits you put together to pair with the climate differences 😉

  14. Yay I’m so excited for you! I was born and raised in Roanoke and always wanted to raise my family there. After a few years away I moved back, met my husband and now have two kids! We love our family adventures in these beautiful mountains. Hope to meet you sometime once you’re on the east coast!

  15. So happy for you!!! We made the California to Indiana transition 2 years ago and I am still so happy about it!!! You will love it. You are going to be one busy Momma- but you always are and manage to do a beautiful job at busy.

  16. Leanne,
    I live in Va Beach and I think you will love Charlottesville. Virginia has both mountains and beaches and has 4 seasons. I have also built 3 homes from the ground up and loved the process. I hope you enjoy the it as well and welcome to VA.

  17. So exciting! I related to this post so much. I have those same feelings about the place we are currently living. I’m so glad y’all have found your spot! Excited to continue to follow along. 2020 is an exciting year for you guys! All the best.

  18. Wow! You’ll be blessed for listening to those feelings 🤗 who knows, maybe your family needs to be there for a specific reason!

  19. I am so, so happy for you and your family! I suspected a move too! But not all the way to Charlottesville! It sounds like it’s the right thing for your family and I trust you’ll adjust to the new surroundings quickly! Congratulations!

  20. Congratulations!!! I am so excited for you and your growing family. I live in New York, so I’ve been an East coast girl all my life. You will love it!! Can’t wait to hear about all your plans.

  21. Congratulations! You are going to love Charlottesville and the east coast. I grew up in central VA and went to UVA. Virginia has so much to offer. Best of wishes to you and your family.

  22. Now I kind of want to move to Charlottesville! Good luck with the move and new baby, and all of the exciting things that go with them!

  23. I found out yesterday my husband is being transferred to Gainesville VA, not sure how close to Charlottesville? I’m so worried about the transition and finding my people! The Easy coast is lucky to get you and all your talents!

  24. Congratulations!!
    I can so relate to this post. We live in southern part of Virginia but will move to Georgia in June. Virginia is beautiful and your family will love it.

  25. You’re going to love it! I went to school an hour and a half south of Charlottesville (C’ville as my friends from Virginia call it) and we would go on day trips all the time there. You HAVE to go apple picking in the fall at the different orchards, my favorite was always Carter Mountain because of the views. But the best part of C’ville is that they have a Trader Joe’s so you’ll still have a bit of California with you.

  26. OMG-that’s huge!! So happy for you & your family! You are going to love having the change of seasons. Fall is my most favorite time of the year-all the colors of the leaves & the crisp air! How exciting for you all! ❤️

  27. You will love Charlottesville! I m raising my family here and could not ask for a better place. Congratulations on the new baby!! Great things are happening 2020, stay beautiful!🌸

  28. Yay! You will love Charlottesville, and you will love Virginia! We lived in Blacksburg (VA Tech) during Grad school ten years ago and I looooooved it there. So fun to be close to DC and Philly and New York!

    Also, I totally feel you on the freak out tears. I had a *very* similar experience two years ago when we decided to move to SoCal from a city in New Mexico that we loved! Sending a heart hug for you.

    Best of luck with the designing and planning and preparing!

  29. How did I miss this huge announcement?! I’m a Cali native and have lived in VA (Springfield) for five years. I love it here and hope you and your family fall in love with VA, too!

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