It’s been 2.5 years… | Moving from Ontario to New Brunswick

Well, in reality, it’s been a bit more than that, but we’re just going to say that the first few weeks didn’t count as we were conveniently social distancing. Looking back, we’re filled with many emotions—gratitude, nostalgia, and to our surprise, an immense sense of belonging. Moving to New Brunswick was a significant step for our family, and we’d love to tell you a little bit about it! From our large century home in a tiny Ontario town to a slightly smaller bungalow out in the country – here’s our story!

A Prelude to the Big Move

Our journey really began back in January of 2020, when we started exploring the idea of homeschooling. That led to Bertus no longer being welcome to work for the school where he had taught for 11 years. From there, we saw God moving in mysterious ways. He was slowly, but very clearly, releasing us from the community that we’d been a part of as long as we could remember. In the spring, we found out we were expecting another child, number FIVE! Keeping a long story really short, in the midst of that gruelling morning sickness, Dianne stumbled on a Facebook post, and it had offered up the house that we live in today.

Without any real estate representation and not a single condition, we signed paperwork to purchase a home in Norton, sight unseen. Thankfully, our story was one of success, and that’s only by the grace of God. He protected us. We prayed over every single decision made. Even the amount offered initially was significant to us. That may be slightly vague, so we’ll add a small explanation. Once we had decided on a number, we added $100. Why? you ask? Because we’d offered $100 over asking price at the home we were living in at that time and that was accepted without any counter offer.

Growing and Going

The decision to move while pregnant was met with its own set of challenges. The hopes of raising our family in the beautiful countryside of New Brunswick was enough to keep us going. October travels to New Brunswick were without any hiccups. When we finally arrived we were so thankful to walk into exactly what we were expecting. That was a relief!

Thanks to a transportation company in Norwich, ON, all our things arrived safely just a few hours after we first made it. Unloading was actually quite a breeze! We couldn’t have done it without the help of locals that had been organized by a local pastor’s family. Even cousins of Bert that moved to the area the year before arrived to help. Unpacking was a bit more stressful. Almost two months later, near the end of November we could finally say it started to feel like home. Being finished editing all the weddings that we had captured within the last month of moving also took a load off!

Becoming Maritimers

While according to native Maritimers we will always be imports, we still believe that moving to New Brunswick has changed a lot in us and about us. We’ve always loved the mountains, and while these are nothing like BC’s grandiose Rocky Mountains, the NB mountains are home. Ever since moving here, whenever we do travel there is nothing like that feeling of starting to see more rocky ground once we pass the provincial border. Living here has been a gift beyond measure. The sprawling landscapes, crisp air, and peaceful surroundings have provided the perfect backdrop for our family’s growth and adventures. We miss the proximity of our extended family, especially our parents. The love and support new friends have been a lifeline, helping us navigate learning all the things unique about New Brunswick!

Nadine’s arrival just 3 months after moving, followed by the birth of Lindsey 20 months later, both celebrated as home births, have changed our family even more. Adding littles to our home once again has changed the entire atmosphere. Experiencing life from the perspective of these two little girls, enjoying all their firsts, is such a gift!

Not always a Smooth Road

Every journey comes with its share of sacrifices. We’ve had to experience the heartache of losing a beloved pet due to challenges with neighbors over some time. It’s just a stark reminder of the lack of perfection in humans, and the huge need for grace and forgiveness that’s often necessary when things come up. We’re sad that while many efforts have been made, we’ve not been given the chance to actually make amends. That’s when we’re grateful that this is not our forever home, in a short-term, but even more in a long-term sense. We continue to pray and hope that these types of issues are few and far between.

Adding to our Portfolio

One of the most remarkable aspects of our time since moving to New Brunswick has been the growth of our business. It began as a feeling that God intended something big for a rundown property that He put on our path. It has turned into a thriving Airbnb. The journey of renovating and managing our rental has come with its financial ups and downs. It also had ACTUAL ups and downs (our house being lifted while a basement was poured underneath it). It’s been so rewarding to see it all come together, and has also provided valuable lessons for our children about entrepreneurship, responsibility, and teamwork.

Now that we’re starting to see our brand photography business blossom as well, we cannot wait to see which brands we will get to work with not just this year, but in the years to come. There’s something just so unique about New Brunswick businesses. They have this most incredible loyalty to the amazing people behind those endeavours.

Home in New Brunswick

Homeschooling was part of the reason for moving to New Brunswick, and it’s been such a great experience. Read more about that HERE. Engaging with not one, but two local homeschooling communities has added exactly that aspect of fun to our children’s education. It’s also provided us with a supportive network of like-minded parents.

Our homestead has been a canvas for growth and exploration. The first spring we started with building a chicken coop and greenhouse. We’ve cultivated our own vegetables, grown and processed our own animals. We’ve embraced the joys of sustainable living to some extent, and are absolutely loving it! This spring we’ve been watching our children nurture their own seedlings. We can’t wait to watch them harvest their own crops this summer and fall.

Our Favourite Places to Shop

Now that we’ve been here for a quarter of a decade, we think we can genuinely share some of the most amazing businesses that we’ve had the pleasure of shopping at. These businesses have AMAZING people behind them, and we support them as much as we can:

  1. Trish & Henk’s Produce – this new little store in Sussex is currently our favourite, especially as it helps us avoid big box stores and large grocery store chains.
  2. Amity Spa – Dianne’s favourite place to get her hair cut – with Randi’s help she’s now totally avoiding dead ends! The wonderful conversation is just a huge plus.
  3. Knock’s Cafe – A delicious lunch spot that we’ve visited at various times of the day and the customer service is always top-notch! Their Asian Crunchy Salad is “chef’s kiss”!
  4. Picadilly Coffee Roaster – the best local coffee, by a mile! We don’t just drink it at home, but we also serve it in our rental. Their lattĂ©s are a must-try.
  5. Sully’s Ice Cream Parlour – Want one of those real thick milkshakes that you don’t think exist any more? Look no further than Sully’s!!!
  6. Nutrien Civic Centre – Swimming lessons, toonie Tuesdays – while we don’t go here often when we don’t have our children enrolled in lessons, when we do go it is always a great experience. We’re not gym people, but we hear theirs is great!!!

Looking Forward to Summer

As we look ahead, let’s just say that we’re quite excited. There’s our oldest daughter’s upcoming transition to high school, and adding other animals to our homestead. We’re so excited about our annual trip back to Ontario this fall! But we’re also just so grateful to finally be home for an entire summer since moving to New Brunswick. We’ll be sharing our adventures with you on Instagram while we’re counting our blessings and savoring the simple joys of family life.

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