All photos by Sarah Kuszelewicz Photography
After officially making the move to New York City, many of you have been concerned and quite curious as to how we moved and how we have settled into our new city lives. (For you new readers, see this post to understand where we were at in life before we made this move.) I finally just asked you all what you wanted to know a few weeks ago on social media and so many of you came though! There were lots of questions asked for sure, with lots of you wanting to know all the same details. SO! This post is me explaining and answering all your questions! It’s certainly a different life we are living now than we were at the beginning of the year in Boise.
Was it hard to find an apartment for a family of five?
I mean, the rent must be ridiculous!
Yes! It was a little tricky to find an apartment in the location we wanted for the price we wanted. Our expectations had to be lowered. And lowered again.
During our online search leading up to the few days when we’d be physically here applying for apartments, we kept changing the neighborhoods we were searching because we just weren’t sure. All I really knew was to search for the good schools and find apartments within the boundaries, so that’s what I did. And we came up short in a lot of those locations. But over the course of the few days we were here, things led us to this certain neighborhood where everything fell into place for us to find our apartment where we ended up.
Yes, the rent is ridiculous, but it brings me great comfort knowing that everyone else is also paying ridiculous amounts for rent. New York real estate is no respecter of persons. I won’t talk specifics, but to put things in perspective, our rent here is about triple what our mortgage in Idaho was. It makes me want to throw up a little.
Do you feel absolutely on top of each other in your apartment?
What is the plan as the kids grow sharing 1 bedroom?
What do the children think of their new home?
Our apartment is a 2 bedroom/2 bath that is about 900 square feet. Gordon and I are in the larger of the two bedrooms with my little tiny desk in the corner and the children are in the other bedroom in triple bunk beds. (We thought about giving the children the larger of the two bedrooms, but we didn’t trust Eddie to have full access to the adjoining bathroom.)
One of the only reasons we were so interested in this apartment was because of the 11 foot ceilings. Because of the high ceilings, we were able to easily fit a triple bunk bed into their bedroom with a decent amount of walking room around it. We honestly had no other option in this apartment, but it turned out to be an awesome investment. The kids love their beds 🙂
I actually don’t mind the small apartment and neither do the children. They have adjusted extremely well to our new living situation. I also love that I can clean the entire apartment in about an hour.
Because we got rid of the vast majority of our things, we didn’t move in with a lot of stuff to begin with. But after unpacking and trying to organize and find spots for everything, it was evident that I had packed too much, so a lot of items got sent to Goodwill, and I caved and got a small storage unit in the basement of our building. That has helped immensely!!
We don’t have a ton of personal space or privacy, which can be hard at times, but as long as we are respectful of each other, it’ll be fine. (Easier said than done, especially for the kids!) I’ve also noticed our close quarters have made our family much closer. Before in our larger home, my kids could shut the doors to their rooms and play alone. Now, they have to get a long and play with each other, or separately side by side. It’s been mostly great, with a few hiccups in between.
Gordon and I haven’t really discussed what will happen when our lease is up in 2019. Maybe we’ll be fine and our children will want to continue sharing a room OR maybe we’ll need to find a 3-bedroom apartment. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
How do you grocery shop for a family of five?
Anything and everything can be delivered to your door in NYC, including groceries! I normally just order my groceries online 1-2x per week and have someone come drop them off. It’s the best!!
When I need some extra food for blogging or a last minute few things like produce, milk or bread, I’ll run to the grocery store. There are lots of grocers in the city and in most if not all neighborhoods, there is at least one grocery store. There are four within a 3 block radius of my apartment, plus a lot of specialty cheese, bread, seafood and meat shops. The fruit stands are also amazing, inexpensive and pop up everywhere.
If you have a lot of groceries, how to you get them home to your apartment while pushing a child in a stroller?
This is exactly why we own this huge stroller. There is a ton of storage and I can pack it full of groceries, kids backpacks and scooters or big bags of clothes for Goodwill. When I’m pushing a stroller, all my groceries are stored and loaded onto it. It’s actually kind of amazing!!
Do you ever go grocery shopping with your car?
Nope! Unless you count the one time I brought it to Costco 😉
All the grocery stores are walking distance from me, so there is no need.
How do you go grocery shopping and bring back all the groceries on the subway with 3 kids?
I have never had to bring groceries back on the subway with me and all three kids. No worries 🙂
Is it hard getting on the subway with all three kids?
Not really! They know the drill now. Eddie goes into a smaller umbrella stroller, and Brooke and Blake each hold a side and don’t let go. They both know to stay with me and always stay close. And, I give them plenty of warning about getting on and off.
How are you so calm navigating NYC with three kids?
I might appear to be calm most of the time, but I’ve certainly had my moments! A big help to me is the maps app on my iPhone. (Not to be confused with the google maps app which I hate!) I am certainly grateful for that.
Also: before we go anywhere as a family, I do my research and learn as much as I can about the venue, the restaurant, the new subway stops, the elevator situation or lack thereof (no elevator? bring smaller stroller!) That way, I can sort of know what to expect. I also bring lots of snacks.
How do you handle rainy days with the kids inside?
We haven’t had a lot of rainy days thus far, but most of the time we treat rainy days like we do any other normal day. Since this city is made for walking, we can’t get away from it, so we have the rain gear and deal. I guess we do normal stuff too inside, like play-doh, coloring, making forts, watching movies, etc. but generally, we just shrug at the rain or wind or cold weather and say “I guess we’ll get rained on today. Grab the umbrella!”
Do you like NYC?
So far so good! I’ll like it a lot more once I have an evening/weekend babysitter I can call. And a husband I get to see a little more regularly 😉
Are people friendly?
With the exception of two crotchety old ladies I ran into months ago on the subway, yes! Everyone is very friendly and eager to help. I always get kind strangers asking to help carry the stroller up or down the subway stairs. And if I’m lost, I feel totally comfortable asking people around me for help. I’ve had pleasant experiences 99% of the time.
Is it as expensive as people say it is?
Yes yes and yes. But, we do have less expenses/bills here than we did in Idaho, but they are up there!
What’s it like meeting other moms in NYC?
Fine, I guess. It got a lot easier once the kids started school and I started talking to other parents in the hall or in the yard. I still feel super socially awkward though, but that’s because I am socially awkward. So, I’m working on it!
Still know a bunch of nanny’s too 🙂
What has been the most difficult adjustment for you personally in NYC?
Figuring out my regular work schedule within our daily lives. I need quiet in order to work, and most of the time the only way I can get that is if all three kids are asleep or the nanny is here and I can leave. So, it’s still a work in progress most days. I love having a predictable schedule and currently, I’m still figuring out my work flow.
What do you like the most and least? Do you want to live there permanently?
I love the nostalgia of it all…being able to watch movies or shows that take place in NYC and then visit those exact places in the same day. I think it’s the coolest thing ever. I also love the four seasons and that for the most part I can walk to everything. Grocery store, school, pediatrician, dentist, etc..
I hate that me or my kids don’t have very close friends yet and that my church family is on the smaller side. I’m not used to that. Normally, there are more moms and families that attend. (As soon as we moved in, we were assigned to a church building to attend by our geographic location.) It would be nice to relate to some other moms about normal mom things. But, there are hardly any kids and hardly any Mom’s in the same stage of life as me. It’s a little depressing.
We know that with Gordon’s job, we won’t be here in New York City permanently. So mentally, we are not preparing to stay here forever. That’s not to say it’ll be hard to leave the city when the time comes (it’s certainly growing on us) but as of right now, we are enjoying this new and unique opportunity to live with our children in a very busy city.
I bet you miss Boise!
YES! Very much so. I miss Boise a lot because it was a quiet, low-key, extremely safe, extremely family-friendly and inexpensive city to live in. We had purchased our dream house. It was massive. We had a trampoline in our backyard. (Uh, we had a backyard.) We had a three car garage (that our current apartment could fit in to). We had amazing friends and neighbors. Blake had four friends down our street in both directions. Brooke was good friends with the neighbor across the street. I knew all the Mom’s at the bus stop. The receptionist at the elementary school knew my name and knew my kids. I did girls’ nights with other Mom’s. We did ugly Christmas sweater parties. I watched my friends’ kids and they watched mine. I felt comfortable there and taken care of. The support I felt there was enormous. (I currently have tears in my eyes just thinking about all my sweet friends that I miss so much!)
The decision to move and uproot all of our lives was not taken lightly. Gordon knew that this job and career opportunity would be taxing on all of us, and I knew to a degree that it would be hard. But I didn’t know it would be as hard as it was/still currently is. But, we are all really trying to make the most of it and deep deep down, I secretly hope that we can move back to Boise to hopefully stay. It won’t be for a while (10 years or so) but I look forward to the day when we can go back.
How do you like the kids’ elementary school?
I like it just fine. I LOVE Brooke’s teacher and she loves Brooke. Blake’s teacher seems to have a lot on her plate…all day preschool is hard!! I know I wouldn’t want that job. But, we definitely appreciate her and think she is kind and wonderful too 🙂
Do you ever feel afraid with young kiddos being out & about in a big city, especially with Gordon gone?
Not at all! We are always out in the daytime and there are always people around us, with a large police presence. There are always a lot of NYPD driving around. And I’m never out at night alone with my kids just because after school homework, dinner, chores, bedtime routine, etc. etc.. We usually are at the park or walking to school or from school. Lots of kids and parents around all the time.
Are people rude because you have three kids?
No one has said anything rude to us specifically about us having three kids, but we get stares ALL THE TIME. If people see me coming down the street with my big stroller and three kids they get out of my way. Haha! Thank you strangers. On the subway, we will get lots of stares, but when that happens, its those people that I smile at and flex my awesome Mom muscles towards and have them smiling by the end of their ride because of something cute Blake said, or that Eddie did. We basically have gotten really good at killing them with kindness 😉
What will your routine look like once the snow starts to fall?
Well, I’m not quite sure yet. It’ll probably look pretty similar to what it looks like now, with a little extra time added on. I hear NYC is good about shoveling the sidewalks, so we’ll see? I’m hopeful that we’ll just skip over winter and go right to spring.
How do you make sure you’re getting the things that you need while being the sole person in charge?
I hired a nanny! It’s as simple as that. I knew I needed help, I knew how much was in the budget to spend and I went for it. I know I need quiet time to work, recharge, go to the gym, go on a walk, listen to a podcast, fill in the blank here. Not having help is SO HARD and I knew without my husband to tag team with, I needed someone else. So I hired help.
When I get time to myself to just work uninterrupted, I feel like a better Mom at the end of the day because I can focus on my kids, leave my phone at my desk and go to bed earlier in the evening because I don’t have to work into the night. Sleep is my #2 priority. Keeping the kids alive and well is #1, incase you were wondering.
How do you manage with your husband gone all week?
Do you ever feel resentful? Lonely?
Having my husband gone all week is hard. Extremely hard. During those first four months when I never saw him and I was responsible for moving, packing, selling, everything that pertained to us moving across the country, yes, I was resentful. But I was mostly stressed. I lost 10+ pounds because I was so stressed. I kept telling him “I would kill for 4 month away from everyone to just work on my career!” and “You have no idea what it’s like!” which were both very truthful statements. But his responses were “well, you don’t know how hard it is to go through this physically and mentally exhausting training while never seeing our family!” and “You have no idea what it’s like!” which were also both very truthful statements. So, on those hard days, I prayed for understanding to know what it must be like to be in my husband’s shoes to put things into perspective. Most of the time, I’d choose to be home with the kids instead of in his position.
I also started a gratitude and self love journal too. That was extremely helpful in keeping a positive attitude when things were hard.
I only felt lonely once we moved to New York and I knew no one. That was really hard. (More details here.) I still sometimes feel lonely here, but it is getting better.
Next week, I will go to DC to pick him up and bring him home for good. So, even though it has felt like this nightmare has lasted forever, we’re finally nearing the end! Hallelujah.
So those were all the questions you had! Hopefully, that was thorough enough to answer your burning desires to know more about our living situation in the city! As usual, if you have even more questions, feel free to leave it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Have a great day, friends!!
(a few affiliate links below)
Eddle Cardigan + rose gold earrings from Stitch Fix
White tank top from ASOS (yes it’s maternity and it is glorious)
My favorite jeans
Tieks in Ballerina Pink
This eyebrow pencil is the bomb. I have it in taupe.