Chicago vs Seattle (First Impressions)

When we announced that we were moving from Chicago (where Tim and I are both originally from) to Seattle, everyone asked us if we were sure we wanted to move because the weather in the PNW is so terrible in in the winter.

At first, I was a bit scared of what we would encounter upon moving. But now I have to wonder… what winter was everyone referring to?!

We’ve lived here since October, and at this point the flowers are starting to bloom… so I guess that means we survived winter, but I don’t know when it happened. I mean, consistently 40’s and rainy?! Sounds like a few extra months of spring to me. I’ll take it any day over the frigid temps of the Midwest, thankyouverymuch.

Moving from Chicago to Seattle four months ago was quite the adventure, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions we’ve made. These two cities are very, very different.

Chicago vs Seattle

Here is how I would compare living in Chicago vs Seattle:

  • Chicago: Sidewalks and buildings and the beautiful lakefront.
  • Seattle: Trees, lakes, green space, neighborhoods.
  • Chicago: The news always focuses on corrupt politicians, unions, and shootings.
  • Seattle: If any shootings happen it’s a BIG deal.
  • Chicago: People are friendly but very, very busy. It’s hard to make plans with people because getting together is so inconvenient.
  • Seattle: Community has been easy to find and people seem to get together frequently. Outdoor (free!) activities & bigger home sizes have made it easier for me to get together with other moms and their toddlers.
  • Chicago: We spent all of last winter indoors and miserable.
  • Seattle: We can go outside every single day, whether it’s a walk to the library or to the park or around the zoo… even when it’s rainy, we go outside.
  • Chicago: Within a short drive are the suburbs. Or Wisconsin. Or Indiana.
  • Seattle: Within a short drive are the mountains (and snow) with skiing and hiking and snowshoeing and plenty of other options for outdoor activities.
  • Chicago: Parking is so expensive that I either preferred to use public transportation, ride my bike, or walk to get anywhere.
  • Seattle: Parking is readily and cheaply available so everyone drives places.
  • Chicago: Housing is expensive.
  • Seattle: Housing is expensive but (in my opinion) you get more for your money. The housing market is nuts, though, and houses are routinely sold for $100k over asking.
  • Chicago: Everything in the city is 15-20 min away, without traffic.
  • Seattle: Everything in the city and suburbs seems to be 15-20 min away and I honestly can’t tell where the city ends and the suburbs begin.

Moving-from-Chicago-to-Seattle

  • Chicago: People (generally) tend to be on the overweight end of the spectrum.
  • Seattle: I swear everyone seems to be in-shape and are constantly talking about all of the activities they’re interested in – like rock climbing, jogging, mountain biking, etc.
  • Chicago: Labor and delivery is handled strictly, with a lot of rules. Doulas aren’t a popular option and ‘natural’ deliveries are very rare.
  • Seattle: There are plenty of options for at-home births, birth centers, midwives, doulas, etc.
  • Chicago: The best food. Just the best. (Which explains the obesity.)
  • Seattle: We haven’t gone out to eat very much here… so I can’t comment. But I’ll probably always be biased in favor of the food in Chicago, although the seafood options are great here!
  • Chicago: The most gorgeous skyline in the world.
  • Seattle: On clear days the views of the mountains and water are breathtaking.
  • Chicago: Driving is SO stressful because of traffic and maniacs.
  • Seattle: Driving isn’t stressful. People say that people here can’t drive, but I think everyone drives like me, so I actually love it! Also, people can park on either side of the street so I always feel like I’m going the wrong way down a one-way road. Also, there aren’t always stop signs at intersections… people are just supposed to know to look out for each other. It’s kind of bizarre.
  • Chicago: Wonderful (and infrequent) thunderstorms in the spring, summer, and fall. Snow in the winter.
  • Seattle: Yes, it rains. It rains a lot. I can’t speak for the summer weather but I hear it’s going to be glorious.
  • Chicago: Flat.
  • Seattle: HILLY. I had a hard time adjusting to driving and parking on hills and also walking with a stroller uphill! It’s been hard work and my glutes are getting more of a workout, for sure.
  • Chicago: People tend to work in a variety of jobs in a variety of sectors at some big name companies or at small start-ups. A lot of people have jobs in finance or management/consulting or at law firms.
  • Seattle: People work in tech jobs and everyone assumes that recent transplants have a job with Microsoft or Amazon.
  • Chicago: Apartments or duplexes or townhomes.
  • Seattle: Single family homes.
  • Chicago: Pizza and hot dogs.
  • Seattle: Pho.
  • Chicago: Really diverse.
  • Seattle: Not as diverse.

Have you been to both of these cities?! What did you notice?

Posted in chicago, life events, seattle | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

My Second Pregnancy Experience (& A Giveaway to PinkBlush Maternity)!

Being pregnant a second time is such a blessing, and also such a different experience than it was the first time.

Pink Blush Maternity

On one hand, it feels very much the same. This pregnancy has progressed exactly the same as my first pregnancy. This baby is jabbing my ribs on the right side and is giving me the same round ligament pain and also gave me the same first trimester troubles I remember so well from the first time around.

However, the entire experience feels different.

Pink Blush Maternity

Clara loves to show me where “baby” is.

+ This time I am a stay-at-home-mom instead of an employee in the corporate world so what I do and think about all day is drastically different.

+ This time I’ve spent a lot of time on my feet, as opposed to last time when I was sitting at a desk all day.

+ This time when I sit on the couch to rest I’m attacked by a toddler who hates when I sit down, whereas last time I rested a lot.

+ This time I know (kind of) what to expect from labor and delivery, whereas last time I was very, very clueless even though I tried very hard to educate myself.

+ This time I feel my big belly at 30 weeks and don’t think it seems that big. However, then I see pictures of myself or look in the mirror and think “whoa, hey there baby!” It’s because I know that I’m going to get HUGE in the next few months. Last time I thought I was ‘big’ at like 20 weeks – oh how clueless I was.

+ This time I brought out my maternity clothes as soon as my ‘normal’ clothes started getting even a bit tight, instead of waiting until I absolutely needed to wear it because nothing else remotely fit.

+ This time I get much less special attention from Tim, whereas when I was pregnant the first time I was getting back rubs and foot massages… (hint hint if you’re reading this, husband  o’ mine!)   

Pink Blush Maternity

Pink Blush Maternity makes such cute maternity clothes and I absolutely love this maternity jacket! I wear it everywhere. Seriously.

+ This time I can feel the baby move so much more, either because the baby is actually moving more often or possibly because of the position of the placenta. Either way, I love it and treasure it even more, because I know I will miss it soon.

+ This time I don’t need to spend time and energy figuring out the registry, whereas last time I spent hours and hours putting together a list of ‘needs’.

+ This time we aren’t doing a labor and delivery class, nor am I reading any and all things pregnancy related, as compared to last time when I couldn’t read or watch enough about birth. (It’s not that I’m less obsessed this time, it’s just that I still have the knowledge from before.)

+ This time I’m surrounded by other moms as a support network, whereas last time I felt isolated during my pregnancy.

+ This time I feel confident and optimistic instead of feeling anxious before every doctor’s appointment. Knowing that I successfully grew a human once before makes me feel like I can do it again.

Pink Blush Maternity

+ This time I had to figure out winter maternity clothing options, whereas last time I could wear maxi dresses in my third trimester (it’s so much easier to be pregnant in the spring/summer).

+ This time I truly am loving each and every stage of the pregnancy (well, not the first trimester, there was nothing I embraced about that), because I know how fast it goes and I also know that I’m about to be very, very sleep deprived.

We’ll see what the third trimester brings, but so far I’m still comfortable and am feeling very calm and happy about this journey o’ pregnancy! Even though the second pregnancy isn’t as ‘magical’ as my first one was (because I know what to expect and haven’t been surprised by anything so far), it’s still a miraculous experience that I feel blessed to be able to enjoy.

Thanks to PinkBlush Maternity for providing the jacket pictured in this post! If you want to do a little shopping for yourself at PinkBlush (they have a great collection of clothing, both women’s and maternity), enter to win a $75 gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 weeks left until my due date, but let’s be honest, if Baby Beni is like his/her sister, it will be quite a bit longer!

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Toddler (Mis)communication

A glimpse into my life as the mom of a 19 month old…

Toddler (Mis)communication

Clara: (pointing to a car) BUS!

Me: That’s a car.

Clara: BUS!

Me: Sweetie, I see it, but it’s a car.

Clara: (excitedly and emphatically pointing) BUS! BUS!

Me: CLARA, it’s a CAR.

Clara: (pointing to a different car) BUS!

… And then I realize I’m arguing with a toddler about whether a car is a car or a bus and I question my sanity and also whether it’s worth it to correct her because at least she knows it’s an automobile of some sort… right?!

(Today I’m joining in with some other moms discussing miscommunication in motherhood: Lisa, Farrah, Amber Joy, Amanda, Tiffany, and Racheal)

Does communicating with kids ever get easier, or does it stay just as challenging but in different ways?! Please say it gets easier.

Posted in motherhood | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Mini-Goal for February and Weekend Links

I don’t usually make monthly resolutions, but I’ve decided to make one for February:

Memorize the order of the books in the Bible.

That’s it.

Totally do-able, right?! I hope so.

Have you memorized them? Any tips you’d like to share?!

Things I’ve Read on the Web

// Seven Signs You’re Way Too Busy: “Life doesn’t have to be lived on the edge of burnout. It’s crucial to start breaking busy before the busy starts breaking you. And breaking busy doesn’t mean you have to do less (unless that is, in fact, what you need to do), it means you give your time and energy to the things that you are created to do, not the things you feel you should do out of obligation or expectation.” (here)

// Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination: “Hillary Clinton is the right choice for the Democrats to present a vision for America that is radically different from the one that leading Republican candidates offer – a vision in which middle-class Americans have a real shot at prosperity, women’s rights are enhanced, undocumented immigrants are given a chance at legitimacy, international alliances are nurtured and the country is kept safe.” (here)

// A Psychologist’s Open Letter to U.S. Voters: “Politicians are groomed by us—by our applause, by our polls, by our votes. Whatever you seem to love or hate, they’ll embrace or reject. So be careful what you applaud or attack. It matters what they—and all the little future leaders watching them—think you want in a leader.” (here)

// Nine Books for Your New Year’s Resolution: “It’s resolution season, when we all have a fresh start, a clean slate, and plenty of good intentions. But if you actually want to keep those resolutions, it’s time to get serious about forming the right habits and minding the right things. These 9 books will help you do just that.” (here)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Do you have any extra-special plans? Attending a Superbowl party, perhaps?

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Let’s Sit Down for A Cup of Coffee (or Tea)

You order your coffee, I’ll order my tea, and we’ll discuss life for a bit, okay?

Coffee Date

During this coffee date…

I would ask what you ordered. I’m always looking for a new drink from Starbucks or the independent coffee shops around here. (I almost always order a Chai tea latte with soy milk, but if I’m going to treat myself, I go for the coffee.)

I would confide that I’m relieved to be out of my house. I would state the obvious and say that being a stay at home mom is hard and I love the chance to get out of the house and have quality time with a girlfriend.

I would tell you that this past weekend I saw a mom with some sort of dried food smeared on her shirt and I instantly felt better because other moms walk around like that, too! It’s not just me! I wanted to high-five her but I also didn’t want to mention the shirt, because she probably didn’t know she was wearing her toddler’s breakfast.

I would share that I feel it’s cliche to keep talking about cleaning (I mean it’s so obvious I’m almost out of my 20’s… who talks about cleaning?!) but it’s what the other moms and I talk about because HOW IS IT THAT ALL WE DO IS CLEAN and our houses are still messy? I would also apologize for shouting. Then I would apologize for even bringing up cleaning in the first place. Then I would feel bad for apologizing and I would quickly change the subject, even though you would be able to tell that I’m actually really stressed about this whole thing!

I would proudly announce that Tim and I have ‘officially’ been Airbnb hosts for a little over a week and it’s going well! We’ve had three different guests stay, another one comes today, and another one comes on Friday. It’s been exhausting but fun and we’re still working out the details related to hosting and how we can make the entire thing run smoothly and cost-effectively… I would probably go on for far too long about my lessons learned in the process and your eyes might glaze over at certain points. (Blog post coming soon, but on a coffee date I wouldn’t bore you with too many details.)

I would tell you that I’ve been volunteering through United Way to prepare taxes for low income families in the Seattle area. You would probably already know that I spent a lot of time doing this in Chicago last tax season, and I couldn’t wait to do it again this year. (Did you know I’m a CPA? You probably knew that.)  I would smile and say I absolutely love this volunteer opportunity and am so happy that I have the chance to do it.

Sidenote: If you make less than $65k per year, check whether there are free tax preparation services in your area!

Other Sidenote: I can help you with your tax return for a small fee if you don’t want to file your own. Email me and we can chat about options.

I would explain that I am starting to feel ‘legitimately’ pregnant. I would sigh and share that I’m out of the second trimester and it’s all going downhill. I would go onto explain that when I bend over to put on my shoes I feel like I’m squishing the baby. My ribs hurt in the same place they hurt when I was pregnant with Clara. I’m getting a bit uncomfortable (to say the least) but I’m sleeping well and I honestly just can’t complain because I love being pregnant and our due date is less than 100 days away! (It’s actually 74 days away, but who’s counting?!)

I would reluctantly share that I’ve felt busy lately. Like, really busy. And I hate saying that because I realize it’s annoying and self-imposed. But, since we’re friends, I would confess that Tim’s been working long hours which means my job (as a SAHM) has also been requiring long hours, I’m managing the Airbnb, I’m going to almost-weekly chiropractor/physical therapy/counseling/OB appointments. Plus, I’m about to start going to acupuncture appointments, too. In addition to that, we’re still interviewing doulas, I workout as much as I can (not as often as I would like, sadly) and I make a strong effort to go to prenatal yoga at least weekly. And then, of course, there’s the volunteering and blogging and attending our church small group and church services and mom groups and playdates… It’s a lot to keep track of. But here’s the thing, I would not be complaining to you about this busyness, because I really do love every single thing I’m doing. Instead I would be lamenting that that I don’t feel like I have time to rest, but I recognize this is a season of life and I’m embracing it!

I would ask you if you watch ‘The Bachelor’ because I started watching it a few seasons ago and am still hooked. If you said you watch it, I would ask you who your favorite contestant is and we’d probably start discussing the show in way too much detail.

I would tell you all about Clara because she does the funniest things every darn day. I would tell you that she says ‘LOVE YOU!’ (she always yells it) and has recently also started saying her name. She loves cars and trucks and buses – but especially buses. I would laugh and proclaim that this is clearly an urban child.

We would probably talk for quite a while because I have a lot to say, darnit! But some of it would need to wait for another time because I would also want to hear all about you and what you’re doing, what you’re reading, how you’re spending your time…

So tell me, coffee date friend, what’s been the biggest challenge or triumph of your week?!

Linking up with Gretchen & Kristen today!

Posted in currently | Tagged | 27 Comments