Where We've Lived

Here is the basic breakdown: we've lived in four different homes in three states. We left our first house with no kids, and each subsequent move we've added a child. I don't think we've moved around too much, so sometimes it's funny to think that I've never brought a baby home to the same apartment twice. I love thinking about the different homes we've lived in, comparing and contrasting, and just soaking myself in nostalgia.

Let's get to it:

Home #1: Provo, UT

Our last morning in the house

We lived in this little house for 8 months when we were first married. It was totally and utterly perfect. We found it by happenstance—a friend of Brock's was walking to school and saw a For Rent sign that had just been put in front of the house. He told Brock, Brock called that afternoon, we saw it that evening, and signed a lease that same day. I absolutely loved that little house.

Pros: Two little bedrooms, plenty of storage in the bathroom, a washer/dryer in the kitchen, a backyard with a clothesline (that we actually used), and a driveway for our car so we didn't worry about parking.

Cons: Not well insulated and the heat didn't warm it well or evenly. And it didn't have A/C, so we boiled through the summer.

Home #2: Chicago, IL

The three sets of windows on the second floor on the right were ours

This small apartment was our home for three years. The University of Chicago assigns student housing by lottery and this was the apartment assigned to us when we applied. Brock loves remembering how I made him look up the exterior on Google Maps before agreeing to live there because I didn't want to live in an apartment with an ugly exterior (this is still true). Very little of our furniture from Provo made it on the move; I think just a couch from Brock's aunt, our bed, and an Ikea table without chairs. We slowly furnished the apartment, exclusively secondhand, and made it so cozy. It was great for two years, but once James needed his own space for sleeping (i.e., not in our bedroom), it got tight. We tried a bunch of different things but eventually ended up putting him in the kitchen. It was crazy but it totally worked.

Pros: Beautiful, huge windows with deep windowsills and the best south-facing light, lovely old-timey details, radiators that kept it delightfully warm in the winter, walkable location, and a neighborhood that felt like a city within the city. 

Cons: NO storage in the bathroom, hardly any countertops in the kitchen, plus the cabinets were metal and looked like file cabinets, no dishwasher, no A/C so (again) we boiled every summer, the apartment was right in front of a loud bus stop, and there was only (limited) street parking.

Home #3: Irvine, CA

This apartment is hard for me to categorize because it was perfect for us but there was so much I didn't like about it. It is the only home of ours where I felt a distinct impression that we should move there. Brock had just finished taking the bar and we were in California for a few days to find a place to live. The first apartment we visited depressed me. It was in a huge apartment complex and was absolutely terrible. I did not have high hopes for the second one, which was also in an apartment complex. But then we went into the apartment, I walked down the hall, and I knew we needed to live there. It was undeniable and I felt so good about it. It was great for what we needed, and I did enjoy living there. I just never stopped being annoyed at living in what I considered a giant parking lot with some buildings. But we were in the back with no one above us, we lived really close to our church/temple and a great farmers' market, and Brock was able to bike to work. We stayed there for three years and added Calvin one year in and Stella (our dog) almost a year after that. 

Pros: A/C (finally), dishwasher, laundry closet with a washer/dryer, small patio, garage for our car, two bathrooms.

Cons: Again, hated living in the glorified parking lot, this apartment never got enough light (we pretty much had the lights on all day), and the only place for walks was the small sidewalk behind the apartment and a sidewalk along a very busy road (55 mph speed limit).

Home #4: Costa Mesa, CA

We moved into our current home over a year ago. I was tired of living in the aforementioned apartment complex and wanted a home with some sort of yard so I wasn't always taking Stella out to pee. I also wanted three bedrooms so Calvin could have his own space. Pretty much every year when our lease came up, I was trying to find a place for us to move. I had my heart set on east-side Costa Mesa which had a fun vibe and where Brock could still bike to work. We looked at so many places and none was right.  Finally, I found this one. It's part of a triplex with a unit on top of ours and one on top of three shared garages. It has been a perfect fit for us, especially this past year when we have spent so much time at home. 

Pros: So much light, great floor plan, big patio with a dog run for Stella, amazing location with lots of places for walking, and super close to every thing we need.

Cons: No A/C so (AGAIN) we boil every summer. Washer/dryer are in a laundry room off the patio, so we have to haul our clothes out there. It's not terrible but I couldn't do it for most of my pregnancy and Brock was in charge for months. 


So there you have it! I feel grateful that we've always found places so well-suited to each of our family's stages and for the nice people we've met at each location.


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