Springtime thoughts.

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It’s 20 something degrees and will be April next week. Yuck. I guess maybe since I’ve been a little bit removed from real winter weather for so long (last year we were in Houston and the 4 years before that were in Cape May which generally has mild, albeit windy, winters) I forgot how cold and looooong they can be. On the upside, it’s supposed to be in the 60’s in both New York and Ohio next week.

I hate daffodils. They’re filling up my Instagram feed lately and I can’t help but wish for tulips or hyacinths instead.

March is insane with birthdays! We have 7 birthdays this month including Theo’s and Ruby’s. I mentioned this to Josh and he said, well what’s 9 months before March? The 4th of July! 😉

Our family is passing around a tiny stomach bug (early spring is always when we get sick). It’s not anything that knocks you out but it’s actually kind of worse because it comes and goes randomly. Ruby and Josh are recovered but now it’s my turn and it sucks. At least it’s this week and not next. Exactly 7 days until our moving truck arrives!

We’ve moved so many times now that it no longer bothers me at all. I actually like taking inventory on all of our belongings, purging things we don’t use/need and starting fresh somewhere. Obviously this move is especially exciting since we’re officially homeowners.

Actually, buying a house is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. Josh and I have so many plans and ideas for this little house and I can’t wait to get started. This is my thing. For about 6 years now I’ve been really interested in real estate, renovations and home decorating. I even took a real estate appraisal course a couple of years ago, just for fun. Eventually when my career in mommyhood becomes just a part time gig I plan to start something in this field.

Springtime is the beginning of a new running season and I can’t wait to get back into it. Last spring I trained for a half marathon but have only run a handful of times since. I’m planning on a full comeback. Actually, I need a jogging stroller to accommodate Miss Ruby and I’m leaning towards a BOB Revolution. One thing I really want are iPod speakers on the inside so Ruby can listen to music while we run but I’m not sure if BOB’s have that feature. I’d love any suggestions or recommendations.

Happy Spring!

 

 

 

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All of the details.

I’m not really feeling this blog anymore and I don’t know how much I’ll be using it from this point on but I thought I’d write out a quick little explanation for the latest development in our lives.

We bought a house in our home town.

No one knew that we were even planning it (besides a couple of friends who helped us out with some things) and no one knew that we were making trips back to Ohio to look at properties or go through the purchasing process. Josh and I chose to keep it a secret because we wanted to work through the entire thing, just the two of us. We looked at several houses back home and decided on a very small and inexpensive 3 bedroom house in a great location. We based our decision on location, price, potential for renovations (we’re crazy about home improvement projects) and opportunity to become a rental – because, this move may not be permanent.

For the next 18 months, the kids and I will live full time in Ohio while Josh shares an apartment in NY with a coworker and makes weekend trips home. I know some family members are concerned with Josh driving back and forth but it goes without saying that his safety, as well as the safety of every person in our family, is above and beyond the most important aspect of our lives. Josh is a very experienced traveler (having driven our family across the entire country four times) and has made the drive from New York to Ohio over 20 times already, with no issue. We’ve done research on safe vehicles and plan to fly him home once a month so he gets a little break. Also, since he’ll have his own apartment (versus living in the barracks as we had planned last fall) the kids and I will come to him some weekends.

As of right now, our plan for our post Coast Guard life remains the same as before. Next summer Josh will begin to look for civilian jobs and then we’ll go from there. This move isn’t necessarily our “settling down” but it is a huge opportunity for us in many ways. We’re all very excited for what lies ahead.

Of course, moving home after living away for almost 7 years will have it’s challenges. Josh and I are very different people than we were when we left and, really, have never lived as a family back home. It will be an adjustment to be surrounded by friends and family (a welcomed adjustment) again as we’ve gotten used to living on our own and only visiting people, pretty much, by appointment. It will also be a huge adjustment living separately from each other for most of the week.

As for the house, we have so many plans and can’t wait to get started on all of them. One of the best things about Ohio is the crazy, insane low cost of living which will allow us not only to afford to live separately but also to be able to do a lot of upgrades on this little cottage. We purposefully kept our budget very low (our mortgage payment will barely be more than our van payment) so we never feel stretched and so hopefully, we end up having made a great investment.

Currently our timeline puts us moving in around the beginning to middle of April. When we asked to be released from Coast Guard housing, we requested a June 1 check out date so the boys wouldn’t start at a new school until the new school year. But due to the CG’s summertime transfer season we were told we’d need to be out by May 1 so that housing would have time for the turnover on our apartment. In turn, we asked for April 15 so the boys have more than 30 days at their new school (not much more but it’s the best we could do).

The kids (Ruby included) are beyond excited for this move. Our house is one street over from our town’s park and public pool and directly behind the Dairy Queen so the location screams kid friendly (the boys call the house the DQ house). We’ll also be just two blocks away from Josh’s favorite pizza shop so the location also screams salami and pepperoni 🙂 The kids are excited to be a part of the community, close to friends and family and to live in a house again versus an apartment.  Ruby knows that some of her favorite people live in Ohio so she keeps asking if she can get her boots on to go to “Hio and pay with Mia and Chelsea.” Josh and I are excited for babysitters 😉

Our inspection was this morning and we’ll receive the report tomorrow. As long as there are no serious issues, our appraisal will be done within the next few days and then it will be a 30 day closing from there. My fingers and toes are crossed!

Randoms.

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This toy. Possibly the best toy ever made. It has effectively taught all three of my children how to say their ABC’s (with our reinforcement). It’s 6 and a half years old and still working on it’s first set of batteries. Every child who sets foot in our house becomes obsessed with it and it’s a set of magnets to boot! I actually tried to buy one for a friend’s daughter who loved it but they don’t make the same thing anymore. There is this one, which is selling for $180 at Sears – It’s that good. Okay, not really worth $180 but Amazon has a version that is more reasonably priced 😉

Ruby wants her ears pierced. Well, she wants “pretty ears” which is what she calls earrings. She loves them, and it melts my heart because I happen to be a lover of earrings too. They’re actually the only jewelry I wear besides my wedding ring. I had my ears pierced when I was like, 4 or 5 months old but I’m not a fan of baby piercing. Plus I think it would be a fun mother/daughter event once Rubes is old enough. I don’t know what my “old enough” is just yet but it’s definitely not 2.

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As for my post yesterday – I hit my wits end this morning and randomly came up with a pretty radical punishment. From now on, if both boys are present and one gets in trouble, so does the other one. It sounds crazy, I know, but my point is to show Parker that if he constantly thinks Theo’s business is his business (bossing him around, yelling at him, trying to enforce rules, tattling when Theo’s behavior has nothing to do with him, making snide remarks when Theo gets punished), then we’ll just make all of Theo’s business his business. My hope is that he realizes that Theo’s behavior is not something he needs to worry about. As for Theo, I’m hoping that this stops his tattling and blame placing. I thought of this because we always point out what complete angels they are when they’re not together. Essentially, I’m hoping that punishing both of them (with an equal punishment – so if one loses media they both lose media, etc.) will take away the constant competition between the two of them and their desire to throw the other one under the bus. We’ll see. It may just backfire and makes things worse but at this point we’ll try anything.

Facebook. I deleted my personal account. My friend texted me within two minutes of when I quietly deactivated and said, “You delete your Facebook more than I change my underwear.” Ha! It’s true. I’ve left FB three times within the past 5 months. Truthfully, Facebook is just a bad habit for me. 90% of the time I don’t enjoy what I read/see when I log on, yet it’s the first thing I look at when I wake up and the last thing I look at when I go to bed. Josh deleted his account too (about two weeks before I did) so zero access makes not having an account much easier. It has only been two days (11 hours, 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Just kidding.) but so far it’s not an issue. Of course, I still go to check my newsfeed every once in a while but that’s just out of habit. And last night, during the time Josh and I would usually be  sitting on separate sides of the couch engulfed in our own devices, we were snuggled up together watching House Hunters, talking about the future and researching different potential “settling down” locations. I also accidentally fell asleep while he was tucking the boys in and got a nice 20 minute nap. It was glorious. So many better things to be doing than creeping Facebook.

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This cute little thing from Target. I don’t even know what to call it. It’s accent furniture. I have the perfect spot for it but since we’re on our crazy budget I literally have to save up for it. The bottom line is that it’s not a necessity so I have no “fund” to take from and justify the expense. Josh and I did delegate $25 a week for each of us so as long as I can go without any iced coffee or ordered in sushi I should be able to purchase this beauty within the month since I already have some saved up 😉

The name Magnolia. Is it weird/terrible that I wish we would have named Ruby this? I mean, I still love the name Ruby and I think it fits her perfectly but ever since Josh and I started talking about our future children he has always said that he wanted a daughter named Maggie. We decided not to consider the name Maggie for Ruby because we have a friend with a daughter named Maggie and we just thought it would be weird. After Rubes was born, and named, we heard the name Magnolia and thought that it’s such a sweet, old fashioned (which we like), unique but not weird name that could be shortened to Maggie. To top it off, the real Maggie and her family got a new dog and named her…RUBY! Our next dog is absolutely going to be named Magnolia and called Maggie.

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My baby sister is having a little boy in the middle of May and his name will be Remington Morgan. I am already obsessed and in love with my first nephew, little Remy.

Anyone with knowledge of the Atlanta or Athens suburbs? I’ve had a few readers tell me that they could give information for a couple of different places throughout the US and I believe Atlanta was one of them. I want to know all about the cute towns, good schools, reasonably priced neighborhoods within a decent commute to the city. We’d prefer to be east of Atlanta and have looked into Suwanee, Newnan, Monroe, and Lawrenceville, if anyone has personal experience I’d love to hear anything! Atlanta is one of the places we’re highly considering for Josh’s job search. It has a great economy with a reasonable cost of living, awesome artsy suburbs with a southern feel and tons to do. It’s within proximity to the beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, Savannah, as well as some great cities to the north. We also have friends and family that live in the Atlanta area. We’re heading down in October so we plan to do lots of driving and scoping then.

Well I think that’s enough randomness for now. Hope everyone is having a great week!

 

 

To go home or not to go home?

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We’re getting out of the Coast Guard. You know this. Other than that one time we were uncertain for 48 hours, we’ve been certain for the past two years. The day Josh had to drag Parker screaming and crying into his last day at his first elementary school was the day he came home to me and said, “I’m done. I’m can’t ever do this to our kids again.” And then Texas happened and it sealed the deal.

This decision does not have to do with the CG. Okay, well it does a little. But mainly, it is a decision we’ve made based on what Josh and I believe is best for our family. So now that that’s established, everyone outside of our little family of five can stop weighing in. No more, “I just want you to make an informed decision.” No more, “But you can retire when you’re 44.” No more.

Josh is a recruiter. He makes his living selling the pro’s of joining the Coast Guard. He is informed. His contract isn’t up next week, it’s up in over a year and a half. Getting out isn’t a rash decision, it’s something that we’ve thought about, planned for and are preparing to do. Josh can retire from the Coast Guard when he’s 44 but he can’t retire from working. The word “retire” means something different for military people and the sacrifice that is made in exchange for “retiring” at 44 isn’t something we’re willing to give up any longer. We don’t care who you know in the Army/Navy/Marines/Air Force/Coast Guard/National Guard/Firefighters Association/Police Corp of America/Doctors with Borders/Teachers Union or Librarians of the United States who successfully and happily served until they could “retire” with a smile on their face to that beautiful paradise that everyone who retires at 44 apparently lives in. Our experience is unique to our family and that’s what we’re basing our decision on.

So. Now that that’s out, let’s move on. The only sentence from that entire rant that I intended to actually type was “We’re getting out of the Coast Guard” but the rest just seemed to flow so I went with it. What I meant for this post to be about is the constant struggle that Josh and I deal with when it comes to deciding whether we want to move back to our hometown once our Coast Guard days are over. Is this common? Do any of my military wife readers struggle with this too because it’s something that is weighing on us nearly everyday.

You see, Josh and I both have this love/hate for our hometown. We come from a very small place with a pretty bad economy but the people are the best. We’ve lived in 6 different cities in 4 different corners of the country and when it comes to respect, morals, values, and ethics, the midwest wins hands down. When we went home for our county fair last fall I nearly died when a group of 5 teenage boys approached me to ask where I had bought my drink and then 4 out of the 5 proceeded to thank me when I gave them directions. In New York, 5 teenage boys would have approached me, mugged me and stolen my drink (kidding!!).

When Josh and I sit down and start talking about moving home (almost every Friday) what we love and what we hate are always this same. We love love love the small town. This is part of why we loved Cape May too so we know for sure that we’re just small town people. We love the idea of our kids doing the same things that we did when we were kids. Sledding at the pool hill, Friday night football games, Firestone 4th of July’s, the Clipper clap. We love that our friends are all still there, that it’s a safe community where we know most of the people (and most of the people’s parents and grandparents…), that the cost of living is dirt cheap but the schools are excellent. We love that Ohio is central to the great lakes, Canada, the east coast, the major midwestern cities, and parts of the south (meaning we could get to any of those places within a days’ drive). Josh, who loves Ohio a tad bit more than I do, has his own list too – being back on the fire dept., coaching, Steamer’s, season tickets to PNC, being called Beef again (I kid!!), etc.

As for what we dislike, there are a few negative things I’m not willing to blog about but mainly it comes down to the fear of being stuck. Like, we got out once and we don’t know if we’ll be able to again. Especially because our boys, Parker in particular, bleed scarlet and grey. If you ask Parker where he’s from he will tell you Ohio even though he only lived there for less than two of his 8.5 years. And of course the kids want to live near family. So the fear is, what if we move back and hate it? What if things have changed in the past six and a half years and don’t end up the way we imagine? What if we’ve changed in the past six and a half years? If we take our boys back it will very possibly kill them to leave again. We’ve also thought about just devoting the next 15 years to our kids. Giving them the childhood they (think they) want in the place they (think they) want to be and then reevaluating, once they’ve moved on, where we want to be. But of course it’s not that simple.

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Even though this is constantly on our minds, it’s easy to push it away because it’s not an immediate issue. Like I said, Josh still has a year and a half left in his contract. But last weekend something happened. Our realtor (the mother of a man who graduated with my mother from the same high school where Josh and I graduated from and where my mom taught for 15 years – see how that whole small town thing works?) emailed Josh a house that just came on the market because she thought we may be interested. And we are. It is in a perfect location and meets nearly every item on our dream wish list and is within our budget. And I can’t stop googling it and scrolling through the pictures and imagining our furniture throughout. Of course we know who lives there now and funny enough they’re a family of five with two older boys and a baby girl. Fate? The house is already set up for us. *Another ironic fact on a slightly creepy scale – when my sister was here a few weeks ago she was admiring my changes in decor since the last time she had visited and said, “Your style reminds me of Mr. *******’s house.” The exact house in question. As I paged through their for sale photos I couldn’t help but notice that she was right. Fate. 

So now we’re at this weird place again where we’re texting each other love notes about the house “Even the paint colors are perfect” and planning something that may not even happen and getting all sweating palmed over a hypothetical life. Someone, some other crazy Coastie person, please tell me this is normal! We all do this, right? And in the meantime, I’m kinda just hoping the house sells quickly so the pressure can be off.

Whew! This life, huh?

My thoughts on Texas: almost a year later.

I can’t believe it but it has already been nearly a year since we left Texas. I’ve talked a little before about our experience in Texas and what we went through to try and leave Houston but with all of the time that has passed comes a new perspective on the situation.

In case you weren’t following along all the way back in 2011 and 2012, I’ll quickly catch you up. During the summer of 2011, Josh was selected for recruiting, which is a special duty and allowed us to get our “picks” far earlier than most people. We researched areas all across the country and turned in our dream sheet.

1. Memphis

2. Houston

3. Houston

4. Seattle

5. Seattle

6. Pittsburgh

And so on. We really wanted Pittsburgh because we wanted to move back to our home town but we also decided that if we didn’t get it, we were going to make it an adventure and move somewhere we’d never been. We figured that we may as well use our ability to travel to see as much of the country as possible. A few months later, Josh got a call from the detailer who said that he had been slated for Pittsburgh (pencilled in to take that position) but unfortunately, he had just gotten a call that the Pittsburgh recruiting office was closing (thanks to all of those awesome budget cuts).  This meant that Josh got to pick from the leftovers. Great!  

The leftovers were Arlington, VA, Woodbridge, VA or Jackson, MS. Great! I may have shed more than a few tears. We quickly did some research and decided that Jackson was really not for us so it was between the two Virginia positions. The position in Arlington was at the Coast Guard Recruiting Command which meant that Josh wouldn’t actually be out in the world recruiting new Coasties. Essentially, it wasn’t a job he wanted so we decided we’d go with Woodbridge. Even though it wasn’t our hometown or the great adventure we were looking for, we had friends who lived there and we knew it was a nice area (DC suburb). Josh called the detailer and told him what we’d decided  but there was new news. Apparently one of the guys who had gotten Houston was now backing out of recruiting so our number 2 pick was officially up for grabs again. We decided to take it and 8 months later, we were on our way to Texas.

Finding a house was a little stressful. We wanted to buy since the economy in Texas is incredible and the cost of living is dirt cheap but because I was due with Ruby in the middle of March and we were moving in June, the timing was terrible. I refused to leave Ruby with someone at just a month or two old and Josh refused to look at houses without me so buying was backburnered. We ended up finding a brand new, beautiful house in one of the best school districts in one of our favorite suburbs, on Craigslist. It was on the high end of our budget but it was perfect and the move was just a month away so we decided to sign the lease sight unseen. In June of 2012 we made the drive from Cape May, NJ to Pearland, TX.

We lived in Texas for 9 months and during that time I truly believe I was depressed. Really depressed. To begin with, I was still nursing Ruby during most of that time so my hormones were all over the place. I was crying at the drop of a hat. I remember Josh and I were driving one evening and a Kenny Chesney song came on the radio. I immediately started bawling because I knew that at that very moment, all of our friends from Cape May were at a free, on the beach, Kenny concert. Hearing the song was a reminder of everything I was missing. I was extremely lonely. I went from being an active part of a community that I loved to living in a giant, empty house and knowing no one. Under normal military circumstances you’re thrown into friendships either from living in a military community or the insta friends you make from the people your husband works with. It’s typically a very social environment out of necessity. But in Houston there wasn’t any military housing and since Josh worked in the city, all of the people he worked with lived in different surrounding areas. Houston is a huge city and the suburbs are sprawling so the people we clicked with lived relatively far away.

On top of all of that, during our move our belongings got lost. We spent over three weeks waiting for our things to arrive. It was misery and very expensive. We had to buy new things (a bed and air mattresses, bathroom necessities, cooking and eating supplies, etc) and ended up spending a lot of money out because by the end of the day, the kids and I would just need to get out of the house. Playing outside was only slightly feasible because I was scared to have newborn Ruby out in the 110 degree weather for too long. Aside from the obvious negativity caused by living in an empty house with three little kids, any military wife will tell you that when you move, especially to a completely foreign place, all you want to do is make your new house a home. I felt trapped and unsettled for the entire first month we lived there.

As for the house itself, we were completely let down. What looked like a brand new, nearly unlived in 2300 sq ft home turned out to be a completely wrecked, uncared for mess. The house was filthy. The owner had told us that it was only she and her ex-husband who had lived in the home so we imagined the three bedrooms aside from the master to be perfect. What we found was that she and her husband had 11 cats and two great danes. The walls were never painted past the builder grade chalk white and were filthy. The hardwoods were not done professionally and were damaged in several areas. The carpeting was disgusting and the kitchen was worse. Our landlord didn’t end up charging us a deposit so we went with it. I spent those three weeks scrubbing from floor to ceiling and painting half of the house.

After the initial issues were resolved, I knew I needed to work on what was wrong with me. I had loved being involved with Cape May elementary so I dove into Parker’s new school and volunteered as the room mom. We joined the Y and I got back to running every day. We got the kids signed up for soccer and preschool and swimming lessons and just tried to settle in. We took a weekend trip to San Antonio with my mom to see my little sister graduate from Air Force bootcamp and when we came back I got a part time job working at Starbucks. I wanted to try and put myself out there so I could meet people and maybe make some friends but choosing a place where the average worker’s age is 20 years old, probably wasn’t the best choice. I hated it. I felt like I was babysitting every night I was away from my kids but I stuck it out for three months because I didn’t want to quit.

We celebrated the holidays completely by ourselves and I was miserable. We’ve never spent a ton of time with extended family because we moved away when we were so young but up to that point we had never done holidays alone. This was when it hit home that we were all the way across the country from everyone we loved. We couldn’t afford to pick up and go home anytime we were feeling homesick and our family couldn’t afford to come visit us the way they had been for the years before this.

I was in a bad place. I felt like I was trying everything I could to make my situation better but nothing was working. Parker didn’t like his school as much as he had loved CME and Josh wasn’t the biggest fan of the Texas culture but no one was at the point I was. I was crying constantly. It was so bad that Josh was practically begging me to go to a doctor but I just kept blaming the problems on other things and promised Josh that once those things were resolved I’d feel better. I was just stressed because the house was a mess and once it was finished I’d feel better. I was just stressed because we were tight on money and once we got our finances in order I’d feel better. I was just stressed because I was lonely and once I met some people I’d feel better. Looking back, things were getting better and better the entire time we lived there but my attitude didn’t keep up which is why I think it was depression. There was no cause for my feelings except possibly something hormonal and the time it takes to work through the adjustment period that every move brings. I was talking to my friend about all of this a few weeks ago and she said, “You really thought the problem was Texas?” and at the time I really did. But looking back now, I know that the problem was just me.

By the time things were finally starting to turn around for me, it was time to move. You can read about that hereJosh and I still talk about Texas all the time and even though I said when we left, “There isn’t anything I’ll miss about this place.” there is. I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling badly for being the cause of our family moving unnecessarily, especially because Josh despises New York and because he made a really great friend in Houston whom he still talks to and misses (and who just mailed us some Whataburger ketchup!!). But I can’t say that I regret moving because we’ve had some amazing experiences while living in NYC. I guess Texas will always be a “what if” for me. The good news is that one of my sisters moved to Austin a few months ago and my other sister is moving there in August so we’re planning a big back to Texas vacation for next year. First stop, Gringo’s (sorry Josh)

* If you linked back to my past posts you would see that two years ago I thought I was the consummate Coastie wife. That’s laughable. 🙂 

Trying to stay together.

Last weekend I wrote that we’re moving again and we 100% still are. I wrote that we had made the decision to move back to our hometown in Ohio and we 100% had. But throughout last week I had terrible thoughts about how sad my life would be without Josh in it everyday. And then I thought about how upset I’d be if we lived half of the time away from each other while Josh has this amazing schedule only to have him get stuck on a boat (2 months in, 2 months out) after this tour. And then I thought about Josh living in (essentially) a dorm, with a room mate, eating microwave dinners and driving 12 hours every weekend to come home to us and then return to NY. The kids would be fine, but Josh and I?

He continued to reassure me that I was over thinking the situation but I couldn’t shake feeling sad anytime I thought about us willingly living separately, even if it’s just three days a week, so I insisted that we look further into moving to the suburbs. Manhattan has some fabulous surrounding places to live – if you have a 7 figure net worth. So in order to find an affordable neighborhood, we’d have to push our geographic limits further than we had before. This is one of the reasons we had decided on Ohio. Josh’s logic is, “If I have to have a two hour commute to work in the morning, and a two hour commute home in the afternoon, why not just move back to Ohio where we’ll reap so many other benefits and I’ll have less time spent on a commute, all added together.” Of course that makes sense and I know that a crazy commute will suck for him but at least he’ll be home with us every night. I mean my logic is, if he has to make a crazy commute either way, he may as well make it home to his family every night. So we spent Saturday morning sipping our coffee as we once again researched suburbs. After several hours we agreed on an on paper love for a few small towns in Connecticut. We decided our next step was to make the trip up to check out the area first hand, so we loaded the kids in the van and headed north.

We pushed it about 60 miles from Battery Park (where Josh works) to the towns of Weston, Easton, Redding, Fairfield and Milford. There’s a direct train from Fairfield to Penn Station so Josh’s total commute would be a short drive (possibly a walk), an hour and 15 minute train ride followed by a nearly 30 minute subway ride. It’s definitely no joke but he’s willing to do it if it’s what I prefer. Though he’s not thrilled about the length of time he’d have to spend on transportation, he fell in love with the little towns. Outside of the commute, the area is fantastic. The schools are incredible, the towns are quaint New England towns bordering the Long Island Sound and the location is perfect. We’d still have easy access to the city as well as an easy two hour drive to Providence and Boston. We’d also still only be seven hours away from home.

So here’s where we are now. Next weekend we plan to look into a few small towns surrounding Princeton, NJ. We also plan to go back up to CT at some point so we can look further into specific neighborhoods within each town. After we finish narrowing down in which community we’d prefer to live, we’re going to start watching for houses. We don’t plan to move until after Christmas because we’d still like to experience NY during the holidays and also because moving during the holidays would be too difficult. After the New Year, if a house opens up in one of the areas we love and can afford we’ll look into renting it but there is still one issue that could hold us back. One of the problems we came across when we looked into living in the Manhattan suburbs before was what renters expect from their tenant in order to secure the house. Aside from first and last month’s rent, we could also possibly be expected to give a security deposit or even pay a realtor fee. With the price of a three bedroom rental in this part of the country being at $2,000 – $3,000 (and up!!!!), we could not afford to give $6,000 + up front, on top of once again paying to move ourselves. So we’ve decided to set summertime as the deadline for when we give up hope of finding a way to stay together and just move our family back to Ohio. Obviously nothing is set in stone and we’re playing this entire thing by ear but we’re just trying to figure out what would be the absolute best thing for our family right now. In the meantime, if anyone wants to step in and adopt Josh and I, we’d love for someone else to take over this whole “adult decisions” thing. 🙂 Hope everyone had a great weekend.

We’re moving. Again.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that New York City isn’t the best place to raise a family when you have small children and live on a modest budget. Of course we knew this when we decided to move from Texas but our motivation behind the decision was just getting back to the east coast. Before we moved, we looked into living in a few different suburbs but ultimately chose to live in the Coast Guard community in Staten Island because of three things: an easy commute for Josh, being a part of a CG community again and money. We ended up spending around $3000 on the move and didn’t want to stretch ourselves thin with the added cost of a security deposit, first and last months rent, utilities set up, etc. (you don’t have to pay any of this if you live in military housing). So we came into this with an open mind and the understanding that we may be moving again.

After months of Parker disliking school (which has never been the case for him before), a baseball season that was less than enjoyable because of issues with the league and a summer spent paying hundreds of dollars (tolls from living on an island) to leave Staten Island, Josh started mentioning moving again. Anytime we’d go somewhere out of the city, whether it was back to Long Island, the Jersey Shore, upstate New York or back to Ohio, Josh would talk about how our lives would be better if we lived there instead of here. Every time, I would agree with him but then back out by the time we made it home because I really don’t want to deal with the hassle of what goes into moving. But as the new school year approaches and I’m reminded of how unhappy Parker was just a few months ago, that hassle has begun to seem more appealing.

Last weekend was my tipping point. Going back to our hometown for the weekend, spending time with family, hanging out with friends and watching the boys do some of the same things that Josh and I enjoyed during our childhoods made me miss everything that our kids don’t have here in New York. The entire drive from Ohio, Josh and I talked about our options for moving out of the city and weighed the pros and cons for everything. We continued to talk throughout the week and eventually brought up the idea with the boys. Immediately they were both on board.

So here’s where we are now. After looking at every option, thinking about this nonstop from every angle and planning out what we can gain in the next few years, we’ve decided to move back home to Ohio. I know this decision will be criticized but Josh and I truly believe this is what will be best for our family both short and long term. Moving back will provide the kids with the opportunity to live for a few years surrounded by family and longtime friends. They’ll get the small town environment that we had in Cape May, good schools, tradition, extra curricular opportunities that they don’t have here, a house with their own yard and the experience of living in the country. Consecutively, Josh and I will get all of that plus a large pay raise and the opportunity to decide if moving back permanently is something we want to do before making a commitment to the decision. Of course their are cons that we’ve discussed as well, with the biggest being that Josh will only live with our family three days a week but that will mostly just effect Josh and I. When you look at our schedule Monday through Thursday (the days Josh will live in New York), there are only 16 hours total that will be missed spent with the kids. Josh’s schedule as a recruiter is lax enough that he will never miss a holiday and if there is a special occasion, he can take leave.

We’ve also considered living in a suburb, moving back to Cape May and moving the kids and I to an area where we plan to look for jobs in a few years when Josh’s contract is up. While those options will be in the back of our minds, we’ve decided that moving to Ohio will have the biggest positive impact on our family. There are a lot of factors that play into what will be the best timing for a move including how this school year goes, available houses, CG matters and a few others but right now our loose timeline is either Spring break or the beginning of summer. We’re all excited about another new adventure but in the meantime, we’re going to make the rest of this year in NY something to remember 🙂