Violet Catherine has finally arrived! Well, she arrived 11 weeks ago – but this mom has been super busy readjusting to life with a new baby and maintaining the schedule of a 9 1/2 year old!
Ya ya – there is a HUGE gap in this post and my last. One reason is, I was waiting for Violet’s arrival before unveiling the name of my new blog as we were keeping her name hush-hush. The other reason is, I had forgotten how much work newborns are and didn’t get to do a fraction of the things I thought I was going to be able to get done.
In my pink hazy memory, I remember the Bean easing right into a sleep schedule and my easily cleaning the house and preparing meals. Either Mother Nature rose-colored the bejeezus out ofmy memory or I had truly forgotten all the work involved in getting to that infant eutopia. Between feedings every two hours, endless diaper changes and a wee one that adored being held and vocally disapproved of being put into a bassinet for naps – my website did not get updated, my blog sat untouched, photography projects I had envisioned remain on the “creative shelf”. Not tomention the fact that these little people need so much stuff!!!!
I knew we wouldn’t last long term in our two bedroom condo, but I kept saying to myself “People in Manhattan do it all the time” and “Folks in Europe don’t live in as much space as we do”. Well, New Yorkers and Europeans are made of much sterner stuff than myself – or maybe they do it because they have no other choice. Maybe it is my post pregnancy/less sleep brain railing against clutter. I don’t need a lot of space and I have no problem living modestly, but whatever it is, the small space/larger family dynamic is not working for us.
Ideally, a newborn and an almost ten-year old could sleep in the same room. Violet is sleeping through the night – but she goes to bed so much earlier than Bean. That’s a downer for Bean if she wants to play in her room or even just read in bed. Not to mention, Bean has school and needs her sleep, so putting her 11 week old sister in the room with her probably wouldn’t be conducive to a good night’s rest.
And then I started worrying (and my husband, Eric, will tell you worrying is my super power) about small toys. With the first one, it’s easy to keep all tiny things that could cause choking out of reach of a curious baby. With the second, now there are tiny toys every where – even when you pick stuff up, Polly Pocket’s shoe is lurking just under the sofa skirt and The Littlest Pet Shop babies are peeking out of a partially open closet.
Eric and I had done a lot of creative legwork in terms of using what space we did have wisely. It was about looking at an area and redefining what it’s potential was. I admit that I took a lot of inspiration from the folks over at Ikea and their amazing use of tiny spaces while still looking clean and well designed – and I think we did a mighty fine job of doing just that. We de-cluttered closets, added cabinets to walls, used baskets and bins to organize shelves… but at the end of the day, we were just feeling too cramped. Add to that the sleeping arrangements, it was time to move.
Dealing with a downward market
Condos have been hit hard and ours has not been spared from the drop in the housing market. The property, when we had it appraised, lost almost 50% of it value from when I had purchased it four years before. Yikes! We are not about to hand over cash just to take it off our hands and we refuse to short sale as a first option. After swallowing that bitter pill, we started looking at our condo as an investment property – because really you don’t lose money unless you sell low – making our only real option to rent it out.
Next, we had to decide whether to buy a second home or rent a larger apartment. I spoke to our very helpful mortgage broker and found out that we qualified for a mortgage on a second home (yay!) but because we hadn’t established a rental history it would be smaller than if it did (boo!). So, we could buy a second home, but it would be small and modest and possibly need some updating. We are all for fixing stuff and making it our own, but we would rather wait and have more options in terms of amenities and location. Plus, we aren’t sure where we will be in a few years. Renting gives us time to decide where we want to buy – whether it’s in this area or out of state. So, renting it is!
Finding our tiny piece of (rented) heaven
That decided, I haven’t lived in anything I haven’t owned for well over 10 years and was shocked to see the limited choices of three bedroom apartments that are out there – avocado bathrooms and dingy carpeting galore! Since I have no desire to live in someone else’s filth and I am quite particular about “the look”, not to mention the area, of a place – the search took a little while before we found a place that fit all of our requirements – off street parking for two cars, a yard, a nice quiet, safe neighborhood, three bedrooms, updated kitchen and bath, laundry hook ups (more on that later) and hardwood floors (I DESPISE wall to wall carpeting… all the dirt and dust mites… blech!). And we found one! The fact that it has a refinished claw foot tub and beautiful fireplace is just bonus awesome-ness.