18 posts categorized "Moving"

Of Place and Space: urbanMamas & California

March 12, 2012

 For my family, it is a tale of four cities... so far.

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Almost exactly one year ago, I received a call while I was away for a work trip (I was in Memphis.  With our toddler.)  My husband had bittersweet news.  He was accepted into a doctoral program at UC Berkeley.  They were offering him a complete scholarship.

My heart skipped many beats in that phone conversation.  I might have cried.  Whether they were tears of joy for my partner's accomplishments or whether they were tears of sadness knowing I had to leave, I am still not sure.

What ensued (what still ensues) were (are) weeks of intense planning for the transition: changing schools, selling our home, finding a new one, preparing ourselves financially, setting up a new home, starting at new schools (for the 4 of 5 of us in our family), making new friends.  The most difficult part: hugging our community goodbye.

Continue reading "Of Place and Space: urbanMamas & California" »

Considering a move to Portland, what to see?

February 16, 2012

We welcome any opportunity to share the Portland love. An urbanMama from New York recently emailed:

We are making a trip from Brooklyn to Portland next week. Given that we may consider this trip as a vacation with our kids, but also as a potential place to live, we need more insights for the following-
- neighborhoods that are family and provide the good schools zoned
- any places to visit to to get a real sense of the area outside of tourist attractions
- any one we can visit along the way to get the real scoop

I am a mom to two boys 5 and 8. Life is Brooklyn is interesting and comfortable as we are from here. I guess we are searching now for different, smaller, natural feel- while having good educational opportunities for out kids. Any input would be fantastic!!

School's Out For Summer!

June 14, 2011

The countdown began a couple of weeks ago, when my six-year-old was moping about each morning, telling me, "I'm sick!" when he was only, variously, tired, cranky, or wishing he could stay home and play with his little brother. "Only 14 more days of school," I'd say, "you can make it!"

Today, with the retirement of a beloved kindergarten teacher approaching and the skittering knowledge that going back to Bridger is an impractical choice that would likely result in ill attention for my rising first-grader's rising needs -- he's been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, something that just can't be supported in a neighborhood classroom of 38 first-graders, and now that his big brother isn't going to the school, he no longer gets the "tagalong" status allowing a school bus to take him the 3.5 miles from our house -- I'm saying so long to a school community I'd really grown to love. There are too many people to whom to say goodbye.

I'm not the only one among the urbanMamas who is saying goodbye. I'll let Olivia tell her own story, but her Facebook status last night about an exchange with her graduating oldest daughter had tears in many of our eyes. There are littler goodbyes -- preschool graduations, neighborhood moves, and the like. I chatted yesterday with a life-changing therapist, one who'd worked with Everett in an unusually empathetic and knowing way. All of the mental health professionals -- all of them, except for one school psychologist assigned to each school (often on a half-time basis) -- are losing their jobs. Those with seniority will be re-assigned, maybe as school counsellors. The special ed director has decided that children's mental health shouldn't be supported by schools. (More about this later.)

It's a sparkling, celebratory time for many children, but even those like Truman who spent considerable energy trying to stay home will miss the friends and teachers they loved. A bittersweet time of release from schedules and change in environment. A hope for warm sidewalks and bare feet and ripe strawberries from the garden. The feeling is in the air and in the skips of students through the streets.

How are you feeling as school gets out? What are your happies and sads? To whom are you saying goodbye this June?

Helping them transition: moving from one house to another

May 03, 2011

An urbanMama recently emailed:

I noticed there are several topics on relocating your family, all the logistics of moving, how to help little ones adjust...Most of those are people moving across the country or at least to a new city.  I am in no such boat.  We have been trying to sell our house for nine months now.  We finally did it. We are moving in with a friend for a few months while we look for the right house.   Our new -temporary- house is really less than a mile away, but as far as my four year old is concerned it might as well be across the country.
       "Mom, when we live at Patrick's house, how will we still get to the pumpkin patch?"
Four year olds are worriers, at least mine is.  He is really stewing on this one and it shows in his behavior at home.  Does anyone have any good books they have read with their kids about moving that helped.  We don't watch much tv but a few carefully chosen things do make it home sometimes.  Any movies or kids tv episodes that were helpful?  Any other outside sources that helped other mama's kids out there make the adjustment more emotionally smooth?

Considering a move to Lake Oswego/West Linn

March 29, 2009

urbanMamas are always generous with their honest perspectives and first-hand experiences.  An urbanMama is relocating to Portland, and their family is considering moving to West Linn and Lake Oswego.  Do you live in either of these cities?  Do you know other families there?  Please share!

My husband has accepted a job offer in Portland and we'll be moving the family from the midwest this summer.  My older child will be starting kindergarten this fall. We visited Portland briefly recently to get a sense of possible neighborhoods, and we plan to return in another month for our serious house hunting trip.  We're more interested in moving to the suburbs, particularly those with great schools as we currently live in a college town with fantastic public schools.  Right now our top choices include West Linn and Lake Oswego; West Linn and Lake Oswego on the top of the list primarily because of the reputation of the public schools, the smaller class sizes, low crime rate, proximity to the city, and the pretty neighborhoods. I am concerned about some comments I read on a city-data.com forum about Lake Oswego, comments that suggest it is full of pretentious, snobby, extremely wealthy and materialistic people.  We're pretty solid middle class; we don't wear designer clothing and our kids don't get fancy stuff.  We could comfortably afford only a small percentage of the houses we see listed in Lake Oswego.  Would it be a mistake for us to move there?  Would our kids feel left out or feel pressured about getting designer clothing, going on expensive skiing trips, etc.?  Or is what I have read just a generalization that greatly distorts the image of the "average" Lake Oswego family?

How to maintain the stability during relocation?

March 28, 2009

When our first daughter was 2, my husband took on a 3-year fellowship in Atlanta.  We knew we would have the option of returning home after the first year or after the 2-year placement in another city.  So, we moved to Atlanta for the first year, then to Portland for the following two years.  Obviously, we haven't looked or gone back. 

We currently have friends contemplating a relocation to the SF Bay area for work, whereas they are currently unemployed here in Portland.  They have found that many public alternative schools are full for the next school year.  What to do?

We received an email from an urbanMama, who is facing a temporary relocation to LA and who also encountered lapsed deadlines for schools.  Does you have specific tips on schools/neighborhoods in LA?  Does you have general tips for maintaining the stability during a relocation?

Just found out a few weeks ago that we are moving from Portland to Los Angeles for a two year stint, while my husband goes to graduate school at the University of Southern California.  Is anyone "in the know" about the L.A. school system?  I'm scrambling, by way of internet and phone, to find a good kindergarten for my five year old son.  We've found a few schools that may be worth looking into, but deadlines have passed and we can't apply anyway, until we actually move there in July.  We're likely to live around USC, San Pedro, Lomita, Pasadena, or Culver City, but we're very open. 

Also, any advice on how to live somewhere "temporarily" with a family?  I'm going to especially miss the urbanMamas calendar which has become a mainstay for family friendly activities-- anything like this in L.A.?  I will surely miss Portland, but want L.A. to be a great adventure for us also.

Choosing a neighborhood: Would you move to an "established" school district?

September 16, 2008

It's a great time to be talking about schools, now that tons of our kids have gone back to their respective schools or are starting school for the first time.  Just wanted to remind everyone that the Schools Forum is alive and kickin'.  Go on: rant and/or rave about your school.  Email us if you don't see your school listed, and we'll get it up there.

Now.  We have a mama who recently emailed who wants your thoughts on moving into desirable PPS neighborhoods or staying put?  What say you, mamas?

If I am a mama of a 15 month old and while I know school is not in our immediate future I spend a lot of time thinking (worrying) about what school she will attend. We currently live in NE Portland in the Woodlawn school district. We are wanting to move within the next year to a bigger home. My big question is this: Do we stay in our NE neighborhood and rely on the transfer, charter, magnet system to find a suitable school or do we move into a coveted neighborhood (Aladema-Grant)? It seems like there are many options in the PPS system but I don't know reliable those options are.  Do any of you have experience with the lottery system?  If you had to move anyway would you move to a "better" hood so that your kids could go to the neighborhood school?

What's it like: NW Portland near Chapman?

April 17, 2008

Oh, the search for the right neighborhood can be exciting but tough!  An urbanMama emails:

We've recently moved to Portland and we've been in the midst of house hunting. We had our hearts set on the Sellwood/Westmoreland/Eastmoreland area, based on the things we'd heard from other parents about the area and our own impressions of the place. But we just found a wonderful house in the NW right near Chapman school off of 23rd that is perfect for us. Though it's obviously pretty darn different than Sellwood, we do like the amazing offerings all within walking distance or easy streetcar access in that area, and we've heard good things about that school cluster. But I'm a little concerned that we'll be the very rare family with small kids in that neighborhood.  Does anyone else live around there or have thoughts about moving there as a growing family?

Pining over someplace else

April 07, 2008

We all know that Portland's da bomb.  We wouldn't be here if it weren't.  There are lots of us who have shared that we come from many different places.  Recently, though, I've been thinking.... 

We were away for spring break to explore all that is Von Trapp (some of you know that I have two little girls obsessed with the Sound of Music).  During our time away from the States, we started to wonder: "Could we be better suited in a place outside the US?"  I found myself wanting to live in a place where farmer's markets were commonplace and the way-of-doing-business, not where farmer's markets needed subsidizing, organizing, planning, or all the rest.  I found myself wanting to live in a place where walking or cycling were the primary modes of transportation, not where cars were the dominant vehicle.  I found myself wanting to live in a place where space was efficient, not where space was just another thing to fill with all our goods.

Don't get me wrong.  We love Portland.  But, we just got this feeling that we just can't seem to shake.

Do you ever have this feeling?  The feeling of wanting to live somewhere other than Portland, OR?  The feeling of pining over someplace else?  Perhaps places outside of America?  Perhaps where you have lived before?  Perhaps to be closer to family?  Have you lived "abroad"? 

Or, do you know for certain that Portland is the place for you and your family?

Moving to Vancouver, WA

March 12, 2008

There are so many decisions to be made with a move.  Mary writes:

We are moving to Vancouver,WA.  I need some hands-on-knowledge/information about the school districts (Vancouver Public School District and Evergreen School District).  What about the neighborhoods? Where should we look and where should we stay away from?  We plan to rent an apartment. Any favorite complexes? Our son is 9months old, so obviously, safety, community, and good school districts are very important to us.

How to ease transition for tots?

October 23, 2007

Haven't many of us been in Cindy's shoes?  Can you make suggestions for how she can help make a smooth transition with their toddler?

We will be heading up to Portland from San Francisco in three weeks with our 2.5 year old son and this is our first time moving long distance with a child. Can any mamas out there share advice on how to move with your toddler? What is the best way to help him cope with all the changes, from the physical move itself (boxes everywhere, packing away his things) to saying goodbye to friends, school and life as he knows it? What wisdom do you have on transitioning upon arrival in the City of Roses?

It's going to be difficult for all of us...we're very sad about leaving, but are super excited for Portland to become our home. It seems that many mamas on the list have been in our shoes before. Please, please, please share your experiences, resources on getting settled, etc. THANKS!

Don't make me go...Tenant Rights

August 07, 2007

I began my search for an apartment for myself and Jackson last December. After just a few days on craigslist, I started making appointments to look at some places. The first place I looked at was it...it was perfect. Great location, nice space, hardwood floors, dry basement, yard, clean and bright. I couldn't believe how easy it was to find a great place. And the landlord even seemed like a dream, low key and uninvolved; but, living close enough to be able to deal with any problems in a timely manner.

Last month, we got some new neighbors (it is a duplex). A family from NY (I think I slip back into my Long Island accent when I talk to them) with two boys, 4 1/2 and 2 1/2. Again, I couldn't believe my luck. I've always wanted to have neighborhood kids for Jackson. With Ruby and Sam across the street and the three boys now in the duplex, the play date potential was very exciting.

About 3 weeks ago, I received a call from my landlord. His message said, "Hi Erica, as you probably know, I have sold the building and the sale is contingent on seeing your unit. So, we will be around tomorrow to take a look." What! How could I possibly know that the building had been sold if I had not been aware that it was even on the market. The new owner came through and a few days later a contractor went through the duplex, as well. Last Friday, I received another call saying that the sale fell through and some new potential buyers would like to check it out with their inspectors. We were home yesterday recovering from a stomach virus. The potential buyers were two young women. I asked them what they were planning for the building and, as expected, they would be purchasing the building together and would each live in one of the two units. My heart sank.

Now that you have the rather long-winded background, here's my question. What are my rights as a tenant? I looked online and it seems as though the new owners will not be able to change my existing year lease. However, it also seems as though I can be given a 30-day notice without any real reason. Does anyone have any experience with tenant rights, either as a tenant or a landlord?

Oh, and if anyone is looking for a great piece of property as an investment, I've got one for you to look at. And, it comes with some great tenants, too.

Moving to Portland & Seeking Advice!

May 08, 2007

In the most recent "Cities Ranked and Rated", a study of 400 metropolitan areas ranks Portland at number 3.  Even the Places Rated Almanac shows Portland at the top of list, as number 4.  Here at urbanMamas, we know we have a great thing.  We've had numerous conversations here about sense of place and our neighborhoods.  Many of us have lived in different cities and have made the decision to move to and stay in Portland.  Simply put, Portland's 'da bomb'.

Many of us know what it's like to research online to find the perfect neighborhood, school, and community.  We've received a few recent emails from folks moving to Portland, asking specific questions and seeking your input, advice, and suggestions. 

Amy and her family are moving to Portland from the Bay Area:

My husband and I are finally carrying out the dream we've talked about for years: Moving from the Bay Area to Portland.  I grew up in Southern Oregon, and came to the Bay Area for grad school, as did my husband.  Then we just kind of stuck around here. Now, we both work from home, have a toddler son, and we're ready to move. We really want to live near shops, good public schools, and parks —after commuting an hour each way every day to work for eight years, I'm done with driving for a while! Here are the neighborhoods we like:  Irvington, Alameda,
Beaumont, and Laurelhurst. (We want to live really close-in, even Mount Tabor and Multnomah Village felt a little too far for us). Does anyone have thoughts on those neighborhoods, in terms of being family-friendly, close to things, safe, and having good public elementary schools?  Also, some friends recommended we check out the west hills area and NW, but I was unsure after driving around there if young families live there and couldn't tell if the vibe was as friendly
as NE?  Seems like Chapman and Ainsworth are good schools, but I really want to be close to other families and good stuff to do with my son (libraries, parks, museums, etc). Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Continue reading "Moving to Portland & Seeking Advice!" »

Setting the Stage

April 16, 2007

We're putting our home on the market on Cinco de Mayo!  Our realtor recommended a stager, but I am resisting the recommendations of Restoration Hardware fixtures and Heritage Collection paint chips.  If I just hide the toys and clean like crazy, is that enough? Have others gone the staging route or decided not to?  What were the results? 

Moving Company Recommendations

March 20, 2007

Melinda is on the move.  I'm sure many can identify with her situation.  And now, she needs your advice on a good company that can help with the transition:

We are recent transplants to Portland from the east coast. We've spent the past five (or so) months renting a home while getting to know the city and searching for a house to purchase. Alas, we have succeeded(!) and just closed on our new home this week. Now comes the moving fun (not to mention for the second time in six months, though at least this one is local).

I've received one quote from the local Mayflower agent (Eastside Westside Moving & Storage), but would love more recommendations from folks who have had good experiences with local moving companies. My first inclination is to go with a known name in the moving business (Mayflower, United Van Lines, etc.), but could also be convinced to go with an independent company. However, we would really like someone who can help us pack as well as move. (This is our way of making this process a little, or perhaps A LOT, less painful.) Any thoughts are appreciated!

City Versus Suburbia Conundrum

March 07, 2007

We've had discussions on whether you would recommend your neighborhood and feeling a sense of community in Portland, but here's a different side to this question.  Melanie is wondering if you can find of a bit of suburbia in the city.  She writes:

Although my husband and I have lived all over Portland we always chose to stay close to the urban center, but after having kids we headed out to the burbs for lots of reasons: spacious affordable housing, wanted our kids to have other neighborhood kids to grow up with, good schools, very close neighborhood parks, strong community feel (at least in our Burb).  However, we miss living in close for all the usual reasons.  We've been batting around moving back to close in SE, but I'm wondering if I'm having a case of the "grass is always greener syndrome..."  I can give up the big house, I'd LOVE to give up the car a little bit more, but I'm wondering, do those of you that live in urban neighborhoods feel like you have a strong sense of community?  Do you know most of your neighbors, do you see your friends and neighbors at the grocery store, park, coffee shop etc?  Are there kids your kids' ages on your street?  Do most of the neighborhood kids go to the local public school or will you send them off to Central Catholic (or private school of choice) when they're older?  Those are the things I'm worried about leaving behind and would love to hear other mamas experiences with raising their families in the city.

Moving to Boston

February 18, 2007

Sadly, Ally is moving to another town.  She needs some advice on her new home city.  She writes:

After a long decision making process our family has decided to up and move to Boston. We have been living in Portland for the past 7.5 years. It has been a very hard decision but better employment opportunities and family won out. I was wondering if there are any former Boston mamas living in Portland that might be able to give some advice about where to live etc. We plan on buying a home and we don't too live too far out of the city (oh did I mention we don't have a disposable income?) We are interested in family friendly, walkable neighborhoods if there are any.

Relocating - Seeking Advice

February 05, 2006

Hi--I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Looks like we may be relocating to Portland in the next couple months.  I have 2 young boys, 4 1/2 and 22 months.  I am seeking information about places to live, cost of houses, etc.  We currently live in a city neighborhood in Milwaukee that is inhabited by lots of young families, teachers, and city workers.  We have access to lots of good parks and shopping.  I would like to find the same in Portland.  The city seems great and we are really excited.  I am happy to find this website and am looking forward to meeting other moms in the area.  If someone would take the time to respond to me I would really appreciate it!  I'm wondering, most specifically, what it's going to set us back to own an older 3 BR home in a pleasant area. 

OH, and schools of course.  That's important too.  I understand that schools don't start until 5K there, is that right?  We have 4K here.

Thanks so much!!!