Embracing the Chaos

By Debbie Lagestee     •     Photos by Lea Austen Photography

The Petrus family has lived in Carolina Bay for 7 years. They moved into their home in Cypress just one day after bringing their daughter, Madison Grace home from the hospital. Most people would think that is chaotic, but for Brad and Carly Petrus this was not the first chaotic thing they lived through. They met through mutual friends in Pawley’s Island, SC.

Photo by Middle Child Photography

Two years later, they were married in Georgetown, SC at DeBordieu Beach Club with sweeping ocean views. Their reception followed under a beautiful tent, complete with a band playing old Motown, R&B, pop, rock, and dance beats. They were having the time of their lives dancing and celebrating their nuptials when an actual drunken “wedding crasher” crashed their party. Brad and Carly were slightly amused yet confused by who this random person was. They just rolled with it until the police showed up. The story of the crasher was published in the local newspaper. Fortunately, the happy couple did not miss a beat, they continued their celebration which was followed by their honeymoon to Sandals Resort in the Bahamas.

Brad and Carly celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in July. Their key to a happy marriage is living out the verse, “Let all that you do be done in love.” – l Corinthians 16:14.

Brad was raised in Columbia and attended The University of South Carolina where he obtained his degree in chemical engineering.  Both of Brad’s parents attended USC as well. Brad accepted a job as Manager of the USC Football team. Some of Brad’s duties included practice prep, game day set up, and sideline work for all home and away games. Brad’s fondest memory while being the manager of the team for 5 years was when the Gamecocks beat Alabama at Alabama. He admires his mentor Dave DeGuglielmo who taught him many life lessons before winning 2 Super Bowls as a coach.

Brad now works as the Area Superintendent at Lanxess, a specialty chemicals company.  It was accepting a job at this company that brought them to Charleston. Brad continues to cheer for USC as well as the Cleveland Browns. In his free time, he likes to go fishing, coach soccer, and play golf.

Carly grew up in Clifton, VA which is in Fairfax County. She earned her degree in apparel merchandising with a minor in business at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She was in the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority all 4 years and served as rush chair in 2002. Following college, Carly worked as an Assistant Food and Beverage Director at Tournament Players Club in Myrtle Beach. While she enjoyed working at the golf club, she decided to follow her true creative passion and went back to school to earn her cosmetology degree. She loved working at Beautiful Salon and Spa in Pawley’s Island.

After having their first child Madison Grace, nicknamed MG, Carly knew she would be a stay at home mom. She was raised by a stay at home mom, and she and Brad knew this was best for their young family as well. When MG was 3 years old, Carly realized she wanted to work yet still be there for her family. She began a home-based business as an independent wine consultant for WineShop At Home, a winery located in Napa Valley, CA. She works from home, sets her own hours, and hosts wine tastings in people’s homes. This business has been a blessing, it allows her to have something of her own, contributing to the family, but still able to be there for all the kids’ needs and activities. Carly continued to conduct wine tastings until she was 9 months pregnant with their son Vann. She has worked her way up to Group Leader status so she can now help others work from home as well.  Carly also loves interior and fashion design as well as sewing and embroidery.

Brad and Carly have 2 children. Madison Grace is 7 years old. She attends Orange Grove Charter School where she loves math and computer class. She plays soccer, she loves singing and dancing, and her favorite thing to do is ride her bike with her best neighborhood friends.  Vann Maverick is 1 year old. Carly says, “He’s the kind of baby that tricks you into having a 3rd child.” He is very smiley, he’s a good sleeper, he has started walking, but that is quickly turning into running, he has no fear and he loves playing in the water! The Petrus family also has 2 pets, a 6-year-old English Chocolate Lab named Callie Mae and a 2-year-old Persian/Siamese rescue cat. MG named her Baby Blue Meow Meow.

The Petrus’ spend time at their family beach house in Pawley’s Island every couple of months. They also love all-inclusive resorts and cruises and they have been to Disney 3 times. They had planned a cruise with neighborhood friends over spring break, but unfortunately, it had to be canceled due to COVID. Brad and Carly have a blast going to USC football games together. They love tailgating pregame with a full spread of food and drinks. They look forward to a time when their kids are old enough to join them. Their best family memory is their family trip to Maui, Hawaii they took with Brad’s parents and siblings.  “It was a trip of a lifetime, something out of the movies. It was absolutely amazing including a luau and the driving the road to Hana,” professed Carly.

Brad, Carly, and the kids can be spotted driving their golf cart around Carolina Bay to the pools, friends’ houses, and the park. They also enjoy grabbing a bite to eat at food truck Fridays and watching movies in the park. Taking a walk in the evening with a glass of wine to socialize with neighbors is another way they like to spend their time and stay connected with friends. Brad is in a Carolina Bay Poker group. Although it is on hiatus right now due to the pandemic, Brad says, “It’s always a good time when we get together.” Carly is in a ladies Bunko group. They love living in Carolina Bay. Carly states, “Our neighbors are truly like family to us, we have a sense of togetherness, if I need anything, I know I can reach out. The outpouring of friendship is more than I could’ve ever expected.” Carly is a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a family. She adds, “I am so blessed that Carolina Bay is my village.” The Petrus family life with 2 small kids is busy and fun-filled. They have a sign hanging in their home which reads, “some call it chaos we call it family” and it sums them up perfectly.

This article was featured in the August 2020 issue of Carolina Bay Neighbors magazine.


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