Tuesday, February 5, 2013

finding my identity + house hunting.

There have been moments when I seriously wondered if my kids know what grass is. Like, green grass that covers parks and yards, you know, that grass?

Downtown apartment living with two active toddlers is tough. Before we had kids, we loved the hustle and bustle of downtown life, and it didn't matter that we lived in 500 square feet, because we could make do with anything and have a blast doing it. Now, even if we had to stay in this apartment, it would be OK and we'd make do like we're doing now, both Andy and I want a house with a yard so badly. Even just a tiny space, for us to run around, for Andy to have a little BBQ, and for me to grow something.

Living in the Portland metro area is spendy, and our budget is on the low end of low, but it's always been a priority of ours to be IN the city. We love to walk, we love the little neighborhoods with coffee shops and restaurants and quirky shops, and we love to feel like we're a part of something bigger.

But when you're super picky and your family is now double the persons, and when your budget is restricted and you have high expectations, nothing really comes available. I learned that the hard way.

 (the chubby sisters last spring at my parents' house)

There was a house, THE perfect house, right near our most favorite neighborhood and within walking distance to a favorite park and it was just perfect on paper. I saw it on Craigslist and my heart skipped a beat. But walking through, we both realized that for our budget, we could not have everything. It was on the high end of what we could spend and a really, really old house, but not in the quaint fixed up kind of way; there were holes in the walls and it was drafty and lead paint on the windows and, according to the landlord, asbestos under the kitchen floor. But it was in the perfect location!

Then I seriously asked myself how much of my identity was wrapped up in where we lived, and to possibly consider the fact that I was too concerned with the where rather than what was best for my family. Because I was seriously considering a house with asbestos under the floor just to BE on that street. My expectations were the major stumbling block to finding something that was right for all of us.

It's not wrong or bad for me to want to live in the "cool" part of town (although the up & coming changes year to year), and we both still dream of having a craftsman in the middle of town. But I was really concerned about what our visiting friends would think, what my friends would think, how I felt about where we ended up. I was coming at it upside-down and backwards. 

This weekend, we found the house. The yard is ginormous. They could probably build two more houses back there. So that means a garden. And maybe chickens. And lots of running and rolling around in sweet, clean grass. It's right in our price range and so not financially stressful for Andy. It's not 100 years old, so it's better insulated and it's clean. Still small, but we like small. But it's farther out than I wanted to go. It's not in a trendy part of town (at least not yet). It's a quiet street in the 100's block.

We filled out the paperwork and then I went home and baked myself a big pie of crow, then started pinning garden plans and chicken coops.


  1. Sounds pretty perfect :) Congrats on your new home!

  2. Oh! And I absolutely expect pictures of said garden and chicken coop ;)

    1. Thanks Kaity! For sure! You guys will be SICK of all the garden & chicken pictures this summer. Maybe I should switch over to a farm blog? ;)

  3. Oh, lady. SO much to say about this post - we've been going through the exact same process and I've been feeling so much like this for months. I've posted about it before, but plan to again once I have some better house pictures to post. Very happy for you that you've found something perfect for where your little family is at right now!

    1. Thanks Courtney. Congrats to you, too! It's so hard, right? But it all ends up for the best. You've gone through it for a lot longer than me...it takes a good deal of patience. Looking forward to seeing your pics!

  4. I am excited to see where it will be! Good job learning through the process :) Hugs friend!

  5. Congratulations on your new house! That's exciting! It's always a bummer when things can't go exactly according to our plans but I'm sure this house is better for you and your girls. :-) I'm jealous that you'll be able to have a garden and chicken coops!

  6. I'm excited to play in your yard. and your garden. and with your chicks! and face it, you're just a hop skip from Ikea...what more could you want? oh yeah, you already named it all.

  7. We had such a hard time with where to buy and live and raise a kid. Our ideal neighborhood just didn't offer what we felt was best, even though it's where we wished best was. BUT we did find a great place to have a little house, within walking distance of a small grocery store (but not much else). But we have a yard, a quiet street with sidewalks, a more and more young families moving in all the time. It was hard to reconcile where we lived with who we "were".

    Congrats on finding a house!


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