Friday, January 7, 2011

Apartment living with kids

Now that we are actually getting prepped for the arrival of baby number 2 - we have been going back and forth about the prospect of trying to find a bigger place.
When we had Katie we decided to move to the town Dave worked in so that he wouldn't have a 45 minute - 1.5 hour commute anymore. We lucked out and chose the first apartment we looked at here. It was QUITE an upgrade from where we were living in Westchester and gave us close to double the amount of space we used to have for not much more in rent - so we were happy!

Then the honeymoon was over and we started to find all the things that are wrong with the apartment and now we are trying to weigh the pros and cons about looking for a new place, or making this place work for us.

1) we are across the street from an awesome park which comes in VERY handy when it's warm because there is a kick ass playground there with the cushiony ground and they have events in the park all the time.

2) we share a 2 family house with another young couple with a little girl and all the girls in the house have become fast friends (instant play dates, bitch sessions, coffee talks, babysitters - it's AWESOME)

3) we have a HUGE in-ground pool in the backyard

4) there is a shared washer/dryer in the basement of the house

5) I have skylights and LOTS of natural sunlight in all of the rooms

6) Dave and I have his/hers closets in our room

7) Katie's room is fairly large

8) we have an updated kitchen big enough for our dining room table

9) I have an open layout with plenty of space for a play area that I can "fence in" and see from the shower

10) we have a full attic for storage

Living Room
Play Room side
Whole space from the kitchen
Kitchen Table
From the kitchen doorway

Storage side of our bedroom
sleeping side of our bedroom
Katie's room/possibly baby too

Where the toy box would be where the 2nd crib would go most likely

It all sounds great right??

O.k. here are the CONS

1) we live across the street from the park that has concerts during the summer that go until 11 or 1130 and are so loud that you can't even watch TV because you can't hear it

2) we are across the street from the town gas pump which means trucks and buses come in and out all the time - lots of street noise

3) The front door to the house slams very loudly which causes a chain reaction with our front door so we get a very loud double slam... every time the door downstairs closes. Unless you are really mindful of it, it's startling enough that it wakes me up if it happens at night. ** more on why this is a HUGE issue later**
The people who installed the front door ruined it before they even had it installed... so there is no hope it will get fixed so it won't slam (this is what you get when you want to have things done cheaply... your fancy door gets broken before it gets intsalled...)

4) In the warmer months it's difficult to have the windows open because the airplane traffic noise and street noise is so loud, it's disruptive

5) we have a pool in the backyard - which takes up the whole backyard which means no play space back there... which is annoying knowing we are going to have 2 kids and I'd like to be able to go outside where Katie can run fenced in and I can keep the baby contained easily.

6) the laundry that we have access to is downstairs and around the back of the house - so in the winter I have to get all bundled up in order to just throw a load in and then there is the issue of taking one or two kids down with me just to do laundry... however - my fabulous husband has offered countless times to take care of the laundry when he is home

7) the landlord is iffy - but what landlord isn't???

8) we are on the second floor so there is one flight of stairs to climb every time we come in.

9) it's street parking - although we usually always get a space right in front of the house and most places around where we would look are street parking.....

So... we bring ourselves to the dilemma of the day - is it realistic to think that we can find some place better than what we have that would be worth the pain and expense of moving?

Now... back to the front door noise... Our bedroom is large enough that we could put both kids in there AND their toys and it would be plenty big. However that room is on the street side with all the noise and that room is where the front door slamming resonates the loudest due to echoes, etc.... So, we are wary of the idea of moving Katie out of her little bat cave of a back room that is super quiet, and mostly dark and into the front room with all the noise. I think the baby would just learn to live with it - but Katie would have an adjustment... I think we could use machines to help drown it out and maybe install thick curtains to help with the street noise too... so I think it could be do-able.

Katie's room would be PLENTY big for Dave and I and all our stuff and she has an awesome closet in there too - so that wouldn't be an issue.

I guess the same could be said for moving elsewhere as there is no guarantee that we would find a place with a room as quiet and dark as Katie's is now... but it makes us nervous.

So... Thoughts, suggestions, stories??? What is your apartment situation like? How much space do you have? Do you think I could actually find the perfect place or do you think we should be happy with what we have and work the next few months to make sure it is organized and efficient to add another person? (storage, layout, furniture... I have tons of ideas but don't want to buy anything if we are gonna move....)

Help!!!! Do your kids share rooms? How does it work? Tell me tell me.. help me, help me!!!

Thanks in advance!


  1. We went through this whole thing when I was pregnant with Peyton, but we love our place and love the area and decided that until they got bigger then it would be okay for us to stick it out in this tiny place.
    Our apartment is 900 sq ft, two bedrooms, full attic for storage as well. No pool, but a swing set in the back yard and a giant yard at that. A very quiet neighborhood with lots of kids including Jack's BFF across the street. Great schools, great town, close to the highways: The works. The rent is reasonable and it includes EVERYTHING but the phone (cable, heat, water, AC, washer/dryer in the apartment...all included). We have a great landlord and as it is an in law apartment, they are like extra grandparents to the kids.

    Living here with two kids takes adjustment and we are adjusting all the time as they both get older. It takes a lot of organizing and a lot of thinking a few steps ahead to keep up with it. For example: As of this weekend we will be getting bunk beds to help clear up some room in the kid's room. This came about as a solution to the large toy cube that I want out of my living room and the kitchen Santa bought Peyton this Christmas. The closet in the bedroom now serves as a closet/ entertainment system/ dresser area. This came about as I realized how much clothes a little girl needs (or just plain looks cute in)so we need an extra dresser and we had an extra tv to put in there for all of Jack's tv games as the tv in the living room doesn't have a/v components. We adjust little by little to keep everyone happy.

    So if you are happy where you are, then it can be done! I will definitely expand more in a guest blog stint shortly ;-)

  2. I had to check in with you on this one, because we lived in a two-bedroom apartment last year. Just like you, we had so many wonderful pros, but what eventually killed it all was two things: One, the lack of space. It was like 800sq ft for 4 of us and coming from a 1500sq ft home - it was rough. Second, we had two flights of stairs and that was just plain awful with two toddlers. We traded up for a driveway of our own and about 1200 sq ft - and we are paying for it! But I think it was well worth it - I love our current place.
    Now, that being said, let me comment on your situation.
    1) There is no perfect place. You'll always be able to make a cons list and although the noise sounds pretty intense at times, it also seems to be only at times. And the fact that you can hide Katie and the baby away is great. I would def. keep doing that. Ava & Finn share a room - they have since he was a baby (old house had a weird layout, it was just what worked for us) and I love having them together (NEVER thought I would say that). Ava is a hard sleeper and only in the last few months has said anything about having her own space (next house, kid!).
    2) If I were you (and in this regard, I am!), I would NOT be trying to move. I mean, I guess if you found somewhere totally magical and amazing for y'all, yeah, go for it. But to create that drama at 6-7 months pregnant with a little one seems like a lot of trouble for how much reward? I'm not one to usually promote the idea of sitting still, but in your place - which looks & sounds great, I'd stick around and make it work for the next year. It's never a good time to move, but this seems like a particularly unsavory time - specifically for Dave who would basically have to do (or hire in) so much of the work himself.
    I love your place! I think you've made it supercute and it's great for 'now'. So enjoy it and nest it up and next spring, find yourself a house! ;)

  3. Apartment living with kids will be hard if you're not good in dealing with it. And it's normal for apartments to have pros and cons because not all houses are perfect. But one thing's for sure; a house can only be perfect when happy and contented people lives there.