I've been thinking more about my favorite topic...you guessed it...houses! Lol. We're just about ready to start house hunting in Spokane, and we're super excited to actually have options in our price range this time around. So we've been asking ourselves some "would you rather" questions.
- Would you rather get a smaller, plain house that's very comfortable financially OR one that's big and cute, but at the top of our price range?
- Would you rather be in the country where we have privacy and land OR in a neighborhood where we can walk to parks and coffee shops?
- Would you rather get a house where we can raise our family and stay for awhile OR get a house that's a smart investment and could eventually be turned into a rental?
- Would you rather get an old house with charm that needs fixing up OR a new house that's move-in ready but kind of boring?
- Would you rather get an okay house in a great neighborhood with a great school district OR a great house in a okay neighborhood?
I'm curious to hear what your priorities were when you were house hunting. Do you have an opinion about any of those questions, whether from personal experience or stories you've heard? Any factors we should consider that aren't so obvious?
One thing my dad pointed out is that here in Spokane, if we live in the country we will likely end up having to deal with snow ourselves, whereas in the city they plow the streets. Something we didn't think about since Seattle doesn't really have snow.
I also notice myself getting drawn to the houses at the very tip-top of our price range (of course--doesn't it always work that way?) and am reeeaally trying to rein myself in and remember that a house is, first and foremost, a dwelling place for our family. Not a showcase for blog content and interior design. :)
Anyways, having been on the other side where we just wanted something (anything!) halfway decent that we could afford, we're thrilled to be in a position where we actually get to make some choices...I just hope we make the right ones for us!
Thank you to Mama & Little for partnering with me on this post. Use the promo code ATHOMEINLOVE to get 15% off your order.
One of the hardest parts of moving is finding new favorites all over again. But it's also one of the most fun parts! I lived in Seattle for ten years and Ben grew up there, so we had our routines down. Favorite restaurants, coffee shops, walking routes, etc. We didn't try new places often enough, because it was too easy to go somewhere familiar that we knew we liked. So it's been kind of fun to start over fresh here, and have an excuse to try lots of new places in the name of research. :) Parenthood is kind of the same. We had our go-to date nights, a comfortable rhythm, and a familiar routine before Ian. Now, we're having to re-figure it all out with a baby. Some days, that's tough and I miss our old routines. But actually, it's kind of nice to do something different. Routines can easily turn into ruts, so I think it's healthy to shake things up every now and again.
One area where I've definitely had to find new favorites post-baby is jewelry. Ian is at a stage where he grabs everrrryyyything and puts it in his mouth, so dangly earrings and delicate necklaces are a no. A friend told me about teething jewelry, and I found Mama & Little. Necklaces that are actually meant for babies to put in their mouths?! And they're actually cute? Win-win, yes please.
I'm doing a giveaway with them on Instagram today, so head over there and enter if you're interested!
I also found a new hair stylist and chopped off about a foot of hair (!!!!). It was right after this post, if you wanna see a before for comparison. I also got some caramel balayage for spring/summer because it was about time for a change--it had been over a year since I did anything to my hair! If you're in the Spokane area and a new hair girl, look up Emily Krause at Tease Salon. Tell her I referred you, and we'll both get a little discount. ;)
I'm also starting to build a list of favorite restaurants and things to do around here. Would you be interested if I post that? I recognize that Spokane is a relatively small city and not exactly a tourist destination, so it's probably not relevant to the majority of you. But I'd be happy to share.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway with Mama & Little on Instagram, or use the promo code ATHOMEINLOVE for 15% off your order! Ian looooves their necklaces (especially the Alexa one, which is my favorite as well). If you have a teething babe, I bet he/she will love them too.
Oh, I love spring. Now that the snow has melted and the weather is getting warmer, it feels like so many possibilities have opened up for things to do around here! And we are itching to get out of the house and go on some hikes/day trips/weekend getaways. Since it's been years since I lived on this side of the state, I've been asking around and compiling a list of ideas. Here are five that I definitely want to check out soon! And since I know most of you don't live in Spokane, I hope this list gives you ideas for something similar in your area. Fun runs, parks, orchards, and lakes...these things exist everywhere.
1. Bloomsday - This is a huge event in Spokane--over 50,000 people run/walk the 7.45 mile course. Ben's running it this year, and I'll be walking with a friend...with Ian in the stroller! I'm hoping to sign up for a few more runs this year to motivate me to get back in shape. Maybe even a half marathon??
2. LanternFest - This is a big paper lantern festival that's coming to Spokane on my birthday (so serendipitous, right?). If you're interested in going, you can use the promo code ATHOMEINLOVE for 20% off. They travel around the country, so even if you're not in Spokane, check their site to see if there's an event near you!
3. Green Bluff - I have fond memories of going to Green Bluff every year when I was growing up. It's a community of farms in north Spokane, and they have something for every season: berries and peaches in the summer, pumpkins and apples in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter, and in the spring...blossoming cherry trees!
4. Lakes - We miss the Puget Sound, but luckily there are lots of lakes around Spokane so we can get still get out on the water. Couer d'Alene is the nearest big lake, but there's also Priest Lake, Lake Pend O'Reille (pictured above), and many others.
5. Manito Park - There are lots of parks in the area, but in the spring, Manito is far and away the best (imho). It's like a free version of Victoria's Butchart Gardens, with a rose garden, Japanese garden, sunken garden, and indoor conservatory, plus lots of walking trails, playgrounds, and ponds.
Other things I want to do this spring: discover new hiking trails, go to some farmer's markets, catch an outdoor movie, and take a weekend getaway somewhere nearby.
What are your favorite spring activities??
Ready for another loooong post? I thought I'd write something about my thoughts as a new mom, and the words just kept a coming...so consider yourself warned. Motherhood is a topic that I think anyone can chime in on, whether you just found out you're pregnant, are a first-time mom, or have five kids...whether you're looking back at your own childhood, dreaming about your future, or can't believe that your babies are now grown. I haven't experienced all those stages yet, but from talking to different moms, it's pretty clear that no matter where you're at, you have struggles and joys...days you feel like you're rocking it, closely followed by days when you feel like a total failure...moments when you want to soak in all the snuggles, and moments when you need some space to yourself. I know I've felt all of the above in the short period of time that I've been a mom.
When I was pregnant, a lot of people shared their experiences and advice with me, on a full spectrum ranging from "children are such a blessing and give meaning to your life" to "children ruin your life--do everything you enjoy now because this is your last chance for 18 years." Ok, maybe I'm slightly exaggerating there...but I do feel like we heard so many different things. And that makes sense, because every parent is different, every kid is different, and every day is different. Catch me on a good day, and I may say something different than on a rough one. It's only normal.
Even though I realize that, I soooo easily get caught up in comparison and self-doubt. I think all parents do, but perhaps especially first-time moms. We all want to do "the best" for our kid, but there are so many decisions to make and it's so subjective what "the best" really is, anyways. The amount of (often contradictory) information is overwhelming, and there's always someone who disagrees with what you're doing:
- home birth or hospital
- epidural or all natural
- vaccines or not
- circumcision or not
- cosleeping or crib
- breastfeeding or formula
- cloth diapers or disposable
- stay-at-home mom or working mom
- stylish baby clothes or inexpensive basics
- homemade baby food or storebought
- strict nap times or flexible sleep schedule
- homeschool or public school
...to name a few, off the top of my head. It's exhausting!
And no matter how hard you try to do it "right," someone is bound to say something that makes you feel criticized or judged. It might come from a stranger, a friend, a fellow mom, a family member, or your spouse. Maybe all of the above. :) I can almost guarantee that at some point, you will get offended or annoyed about something. Parenting is so close to the heart, it's easy to be extra sensitive. BUT I'm trying to remember that everyone means well! Those comments usually come from the best of intentions and a genuine desire to be helpful.
With that in mind, I'm trying to be open to different opinions, without taking any of them too personally. After all, motherhood is a tribe, and we need one another. None of us has the answer key. We're all just figuring it out as we go. But it's so much better to figure things out with other moms by your side, rather than trying to do it "right" all by yourself.
So my #1 piece of advice for other new parents? Find some fellow moms (and dads!) that you can chat with, vent to, and ask for advice. As for the rest of the debates? As long as your baby is fed and loved, don't worry too much...do whatever works for you. That's my take, anyways!
Becoming a parent is a tough transition. It's a HUGE shift in identity, priorities, and day to day life. And it's impossible to be perfect, because everyone's idea of "perfect" is different anyways. So don't hold yourself to that standard! Cut yourself some slack. And when it comes to all those heated debates...let's cut each other some slack too. We're all in this together.
P.S. I'd love to hear...what advice would you give to new moms & dads?
Thanks to Tenth & Pine for sending over the cute outfits that Ian is wearing in these photos. I love their selection of stylish, gender-neutral baby clothes.