Friday, March 6, 2015

One Month In the Emerald City

We arrived in Seattle at the beginning of February (with the help of my incredible in-laws) and for the past month we've lived in a two bedroom apartment with four small children and one big dog. At first the thought of living in such a small space with our fairly large family was more than a little overwhelming.

On the few occasions when I've envisioned raising a family, I've always imagined we'd live in a big house with a lush green yard. I guess I've unconsciously assumed that the city is for single people or the childless married crowd.

 Jonathan's company offered us free corporate housing as a part of our moving package. It bought us some time extra time while we were looking for a place to live and trying to sell our house in Charleston.

The company gave us a choice between a big house in the suburbs with a long commute to work for Jonathan, and a two bedroom apartment in the city that's a five minute walk to his office. Being the thrill seekers that we are, we opted for the apartment. Jonathan was excited and I was skeptical.

It hasn't all been fun and games. There have been days when I've felt trapped by my infant's nap schedule and our close proximity to one another. Getting the boys to take naps has definitely been a lesson in trial and error.

But in many ways life in our small downtown apartment has been refreshingly simple. All of our earthly goods have been in storage while we live in this temporary housing situation. We moved in with about a week's worth of clothes per family member and two toys per child.


Cleaning the house has never been easier- It takes me 30 minutes tops to get the place clean and all of our clothes can be washed in a day.

Its easier to get around with small children in the city- I hate hauling the kids in and out of the car when I need to run errands. Here I've been able to wear the baby in my baby carrier, put my two middle sons in the ride and stand stroller, and let my 5 year old walk beside us. They have fun and I am able to get things done.

Walking everywhere ensures that you get exercise

No yard = No upkeep and plenty of time to take day trips on the weekend 

We're spending very little money gas- We drive on Saturdays to sight see outside of the city, and on Sunday because the church we're attending is a bit of a haul. Other than that we walk everywhere.


We don't always feel comfortable bringing our children in the small quiet restaurants nearby, even if they have a casual atmosphere

You HAVE to leave the apartment if you want your kids or your dog to have time to run around outside -  Backyards are so convenient when you have an infant. The baby can nap and you can bring your baby monitor and go hang out outside with your older kids. Here in the city we've had to plan our outings around Pearl's nap time.

Housing is expensive and you get less square footage for your money

We don't see many families with more than two children- Every time I meet another mom at the park some of the first words to come out of her mouth are "Are they all yours?" and "I don't know how you do it." Every. Single. Time.

For the next year we've decided to rent a townhouse about three miles away from where we are now. You can definitely get more house for your money in the suburbs but the commute is insane. I don't know if we'll end up living here long term but I think if we'd moved straight to the 'burbs we wouldn't have even considered living downtown.

Honestly I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with our kids growing up in the city. I loved my childhood and I grew up in the suburbs. If we end up staying here their childhoods will look different from mine in many ways, but being different is not necessarily a bad thing.

 I've found this article written by Kathy Keller, wife of pastor Tim Keller and mother of three men who were raised in Manhattan, particularly encouraging and inspiring. Would you consider raising your family downtown in a bustling metropolis?