Wednesday, June 7, 2017

10 Lessons from a New York Newbie

Hello my faithful blog follower. I know, it has been awhile. I have completely let you down and for that I am sorry. I have been so busy the past few months redesigning my Etsy store and designing like crazy. It has completely consumed my entire childless downtime, and the thing about it is I LOVE IT! I need just a moment of your time to brag about my store. If it helps you understand any better on why I have been so busy my sales are up 193% since last year, I now offer printing services, and have partnered up with a couple of businesses! The redesign has completely changed my business and I am so excited to see what the future holds for NOLA Lou Lou. If you haven't followed me before NOLA Lou Lou is my Etsy shop where I design and sell Invitations, Announcements, Photo Cards, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to check it out if you have a moment or two! 

Since I have been away I obviously have a lot to update you on. My update is going to be through 10 Lessons we have learned thus far as New York Newbie's and I would definitely still consider us Newbie's! 

1.) Always move your car on Street Cleaning Day

Many of you may wonder if we have a car? We decided when we moved here to keep one car just so that if we wanted to escape the city, aka go to Kentucky we would be able to. We don't use it a lot but we do use it to go the grocery store (there is an Aldi about 3 miles from us which equals a 20 to 30 minute drive). Occasionally I just need a Suburb minute (mall, target (without paying to park), Chick-Fli-a) so in about 30 minutes I can be in New Jersey to experience all the luxuries the suburbs have to offer. So where do we park the car that we occasionally use? The street! Luckily we don't live in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and lots of Brooklyners own cars because most of them have families. We usually don't have trouble finding a spot close to our apartment building either. The most critical thing though to street parking is making sure we move the car for Street Cleaning Day.

Our street is cleaned on Thursday (left side) and Friday (right side) between the hours of 11:30-1:00. Not that long and since I am home its my responsibility to move the car. Occasionally though I am known to have what I call "mom brain." However, in February I experience "mom brain" that I hope to never endure again. Hence lesson one: Always move your car on Street Cleaning Day. 

At exactly 11:30 on Thursday morning I remembered that it was street cleaning day and the car was parked on the Thursday side. I quickly gathered up Elin and Baylor and ran out to the car. Now luckily it was one of the random days in February when the weather was some what warm, but it just happened to be SUPER windy (if you know Elin than you know she hates the wind because she is slightly a diva). I am in such a hurry to move the car that I don't even pay attention to anything but getting the kids in and the car moved. So I didn't even noticed that the street cleaning man had already passed my car. I jumped in and started to pull away but noticed that the car felt funny. I quickly pulled over (blocking 1/4 of an older man's driveway) and discovered that my front left tire had been sliced, and the tire was flat (see picture).

My super happen to pull up behind me and proceed to tell me that the street cleaning man had hit my tire (hence why his machine was sitting on the side of the road). Of course now I have to get the kids out of the car and go talk to this man all while Elin is screaming that it is to windy outside. Yes, the street cleaning man's broom fell off the machine and hit my tire. Of course the Mr. was in a meeting and my dad didn't pick up the phone so thank goodness my State Farm Agent coming to my rescue! Apparently the city is suppose to pay for the tire but it could be years before we see that money! I guess could have received a ticket and they could have not offered to pay for the tire so there is a positive side to the story

2.) Are you really lucky if the Subway Station has and elevator? 

Lessons learned from the city are mainly around the subway, because public transit is a new concept to this southern girl! If you have ever visited NY you may find yourself wondering how I possible get around the city with two kiddos. To be honest I have no idea, I just man up and do it, and pray it all works out for the best. I also really just hope that there is an elevator at the station I am getting off at, other wise I look like a struggle bus for sure. However, do I really consider myself lucky if I happen to get off at a station with an elevator, or do I? 

After investing in 3 different double stroller we finally went with the Uppa Baby G-Link, it weighs 23 pounds so I can carry it and Baylor down the stairs while Elin walks on her own. I understand now why every mom with two kids owns this stroller here it is well worth the money. 

I have quickly learned that taking the subway up to one of those so called station with an elevator usually means I am living on a prayer. I find myself saying oh I'll go up one more stop and walk a few blocks because there is an elevator only to find out that the elevator is not working at that station. 

The worst though is when you get to the elevator, it works, you want to jump for joy and then you get on only to find that someone has probably spent the night in the elevator and it smells like a urinal. Yep, this is the most common occurrence and well now Elin gets on and shouts "Someone peed in here," making the ride up awkward for me and the strangers riding up with us (I should apologize to my own mom now for all the awkward moments in life I may have caused her when I was a child, sorry mom I love you). 

The subway stations are actually cleaned so while it does always have a smell it is nice to know that they pressure wash them and they usually smell good for a couple of days!

So lesson learned elevators in the city are awesome for a momma with  a stroller just trying to get to play date but pack an oxygen mask if your kids don't require a bag full of snacks (side note I would never have enough room for an oxygen mask because my kids literally require a bag full of snacks, thank goodness for the years on the swim team I can hold my breath for quite sometime). 

Our building has an elevator, and it always works and doesn't smell like urine! Baylor has officially learned to walk on and off the elevator and thinks he is big stuff. 

3.) Avoid the Empty Subway Car

Yes, occasionally you come across a Subway Car that is completely empty. You find yourself wondering why that subway car is empty, well trust me there is a reason for this. Chances are it is one of the following:
- No AC
- Fowl smell
- Rat on the pole 
- Just something or someone funky inside

You take a chance if you enter and empty subway car, may the odds be ever in your favor. 

The odds happened to be in my favor that day! 

4.) Departures, Not Arrivals for Pick Up 

So you are coming to visit? Well first off let me say we love visitors and I am pretty sure I am destined to be NYC tour guide. However, I will say that if you ask me to pick you up from the airport I will gladly do so but I will cuss you all the way there, especially if you are flying into LaGuardia (just kidding I don't mind if you follow my one simple rule).

Loved having our cousins visit and explore our city with us!

LaGuardia is currently undergoing major construction. One being that hopefully in the near future the subway will have a stop there (this would be AWESOME). Plus LaGuardia is just old and outdated so it truly needs a face lift. However, there is no parking and navigating around can be horrific. 

Just playing tourist with my brother!

The one and only time I have cried real tears because of the stress of driving in NY was at the airport. The lesson I have learned is that until LaGuardia is completely finished with construction it is best for me to pick you up at Departures, not Arrivals. Also note to anyone visiting if you aren't taking a taxi (which there is a taxi stand in Arrivals) and wanting to use Uber or Lyft have your driver pick you up in Departures they will thank you later. 

Grandparents Take on the City
 We love L and B
We love Ebbie and ZZ

5.) Dress in Your Winter Finest 

We haven't quiet figured out the reason behind the way New Yorkers dress. I guess they really love their heat. Heat is free here, the homes are heated by the steam from the subway system (interesting fact). It is definitely nice to have heat but my goodness it can get hot if your neighbors have their's on full blast. This winter we never had to even turn on our radiators. I think because New Yorkers are use to the heat they have no idea how to dress when they go outside and the weather is actually nice (to a southern) it is still cold to a New Yorker. Literally it was 82 degrees a couple of weeks ago and the kids and I were at the park. I counted 18 people that had winter attire on (coat, wool hat, scarf, etc.). I am over there with my kids in shorts and a t-shirt and these people look like a snow storm is due at any time. Not to mention the number of kids I still see in their stroller muff (basically a sleeping bag for the end of the stroller). The Mr. and I are constantly laughing because these are the same people who refuse to take off their excessive layers in the subway and are just pouring down sweat. 

Lesson learned if you want to live like a true New Yorker you never store your winter clothes, you rock those bad boys all year (clearly we aren't living like true New Yorkers over at the Logan Household). 

6.) It's Hot Don 

So I just mentioned that heat was free here, but I forgot to mention that most of NY does not have central air. These building were built in the 1800s long before the existence of central air. Windows units are a must so some times when you are walking the streets of NY and you feel a drop of water and no rain in site just note everyone has a window unit running to survive the heat (ours runs year round).

We have only had few really hot days thus far, and on those days it is HOT! If you riding on the subway the heat is trapped underground so you want to make sure you time your arrival just perfect. Also lesson learned the best place to get AC in a subway car is in the middle. If you stand on the ends there isn't much air flow and you will be miserable. The buildings also trap heat so while it may only be 80 degrees outside it could feel a lot warmer just because there is no where for the heat to go. 

So this summer while you are enjoying your nice central air be sure to pray for the New Yorkers who are relying on window units or no AC at all. 

You will find us at the Splash Pad all summer, it is literally steps away from our house!

7.) Everything Takes Time

Literally we live in a city where we have access to everything. However, it takes time to get to those things. We ride the subway pretty much everywhere but the subway has a lot of stops to make. For example, Mid-town (Time Square) is only 8 miles from our doorstep but it takes us 45 minutes or more (depending on how the train is running) to get there. At first this took some getting use to but I feel like we are getting more confident with subway so now it seems to go quicker but in reality we may just be developing a little more patience.

I drive here occasionally and again this takes time too. Elin had a play date last week and it was raining and I really just didn't feel like riding the subway with the two kids. I decided to drive. Her little friend lives 3 miles away and it took me 30 minutes, it was probably quicker to ride the subway by the time I drove over there and parked.

What happens when we drive just 3 miles? 

The major lesson learned from this is always have an endless supply of snacks and water! 

8.) Tinder for Moms and NY Babysitter

If you have ever moved away from all you have ever known than you can relate to me when I say making friends is HARD. It is seriously hard to make friends especially in our current stage of life. Our kids are young and not really involved in a lot of activities (which  the few that they are involved in is where we have made a couple of friends). We have kids and getting a baby sitter is basically like paying for two nights out in one, and they can't always come at a moments notice. Hanging out with people who don't have kids is just not something we can do easily (which most of the people our age here don't have kids and maybe single or just getting married, we are definitely abnormal).  Childless people tend to plan on a moments notice or want to do things that kids can't partake in (which if fine and we need sometimes). Luckily some genius technology person created and App specifically for parents called Peanut. Seriously for those of you out there that are familiar with Tinder it is just like it. It is basically a dating app for moms. Other moms log on and input their info (three favorite things to do, number of kids, age of kids, gender of kids) and then it connects you to moms in your area based on similarities. You can then wave at them (swipe up) or not (swipe down). You can chat and schedule play dates. We have already had some and while I don't feel like I have made a life long friend these people have introduced me to some activities in the area that I did not know about, which is a win in my book. 

The Buttons come and sing on Friday at a local coffee shop with play space. A Peanut associate introduced us to this great space and the kids love listening to Music on Fridays now!

Both kids started swim lessons!

Elin started soccer and finishes up her first season next week! 

Luckily soccer brought us a new friend that we are spending lots of time with these days! 

On the same note as making friends it is was crucial for us to find a babysitter when we moved to NY. I knew I joined a sorority for a purpose back in 2004. Not only did I make life long friends, have an amazing college experience, but now that same sorority that I joined is still a part of my life. When we moved here I wasn't keen on the baby sitter apps that other moms use here, for whatever reason I just felt uncomfortable with that whole concept. I remember when I was a Pi Phi we use to get emails from alumni asking for girls who would be interested in babysitting as way to earn some extra money. Asking a few of my sorority sister if they thought this would be creepy I decided why not take a shot what is the worst that could happen. I reached out the NYU Chapter president and she responded almost immediately with a list of girls. I started at the top and the first one to respond was going to be our girl! 

The Mr. graduated with the lead star in Paramour so thank goodness for Emily because we were able to see her perform before she took her final bow. We even were able to do a backstage tour which was awesome!

We met Emily back in January and she has been wonderful. She usually only comes in the evening when the kids are either in bed or getting ready for bed so it is the perfect job for a college student. She is originally from Michigan and home for the summer so we are really missing her and counting down the days until August. She has definitely given the Mr. and I some flexibility and some nights to be childless for a few hours! Lesson here use your resources! Once a Pi Phi always a Pi Phi! 

Concert at Madison Square=Checking off a NY must do item! Thanks again Emily!

Sometimes you just want to go to Serendipity and not have to share with your kids. I have no shame on admitting that!

9.) Honk Your Horn or don't drive here!

Literally the one thing that drives me the craziest about driving here is the number of times I get honked at. In KY honking is almost like someone using a cuss word at you while driving, its definitely rude. Here, I am pretty sure they use it for everything sometimes just to be friendly sometimes to be rude, who knows its 24/7! When you live here you have to learn to honk your horn and accept being honked at. I am not even joking the light can turn green and someone is instantly blowing their horn. I think the one that drives me the craziest though is that when I go to parallel park (which is every time I go to park) someone rides up on my bummer ands starts honking (seriously almost every time I go to park). Now if I were a true New Yorker I would just take my time and park my car, however, I am from the south and the honk of the horn makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, or making someone mad so I just put my car in drive and start aimlessly searching for the next parking spot. 

Lesson learned I am going to have to man up and just honk my horn!

10. ) Rude, Unfriendly New Yorker=Misconception 

I want to end on probably the most valuable lesson we have learned so far as NY Newbie. Moving away from everything you have known (even for just a little while) gives you such a huge opportunity to open your mind and see the world around you. Most people think that New Yorkers are rude, and unfriendly. This is a HUGE misconception. Our experience thus far has been just the opposite, New Yorkers maybe more friendly than southerners. I kid you not if you ever visit just pause for a moment and look around you, you will notice the constant random acts of kindness occurring in this hustle and bustle city. Yes people are in a hurry, yes they think about themselves a lot, and yes it is busy but there hasn't been a single time that I have left my apartment that I haven't seen kindness occurring all around me. I am not scared to walk around in my neighborhood, people I don't know wave at me and the kids, our neighborhood pharmacist knows my name when I walk in (and we have only been there like 3 times), our local produce stand owner new we were new to the neighborhood, the list goes on and on. I think the biggest thing for me though has been when I am out with the kids. For the past six month when I have ridden on the subway someone has a.) helped me carry the stroller down the subway stairs either by picking up the whole stroller and carrying it down or lifting up the back of it (I only have had to carry it the first few times I went because I was stubborn and refused the help, now I just go with it. They aren't going to steal my stroller or ask for money, there are just truly kind people in the world). If I don't have the stroller and get on the subway literally people fly off their seats for me to sit down with kids. The few times I have been alone I have noticed people doing this for any parent with kids, elderly person, pregnant momma, or anyone that simple just looks like they need to rest. People give up their seats willing to help a neighbor. The Mr. says the same thing, he constantly sees people giving up their seats, carrying items up the stairs for others (this includes those people traveling with luggage or heavy items), and just being kind and considerate of those around. 

My eyes have seriously been open and while I am not naive and do know that there are bad people and things out there I do appreciate the kindness that I see around me. Imagine what kind of world we would live in if everyone turned off the news and paid attention to what was actually going on around them. I fully believe that what we see on the news is only 10% of what is going on in the world the other 90% is actually good! I tell you kindness spreads like wildfire amongst people. 

So by far the biggest lesson I have learned and hope to instill in my kids is don't judge a book by its cover. Explore and discover, open your eyes and look around for the good because it is happening all around us! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Kid Licked the Subway Rail

Yep, you read that title correctly. I am not going to lie about it. Judge away my friends, judge away! We tried to stop her. We tried to tell her it was covered in germs. We tried to tell her it could make her sick. But at some point you just give up and realize that your child is as hard headed as they come (kids will be kids). So, yes the dictator licked the rail on the subway, and yes we are just as disgusted as you. We like to think she was just building up here immune system. 

Chances are she is telling me "No mom, don't say that!"

We are slowly (like snails pace) adjusting to our new life in the big city. I can't say that I have been very adventurous. The thought of taking the two kids alone on the subway has been a little terrifying but I thought I was due to give my faithful readers an update. Mainly I am just going to update you on our new mode of transportation, because lets face it everyone is curious as how you get around such a large city with two littles, even I am curious. 

Just waiting for the train, Mom's a horse!

Well for starters we live at a stop that only has two subways lines coming through (or as we commonly say in our house trains), so our little stop is not like the hustle and bustle you will get in Manhattan. Its a pretty quiet stop, usually just a handful of people waiting for the next train to roll through. 

Quiet little stop

Now we haven't been here long enough to call ourselves experts by any means. In fact I feel like even the people who have lived here their entire lives still get confused and have to use the map or app (note to all future NYC travelers you can pick up a map (its probably the best map) from an attendant, just note that not all stops have attendants working). We have quickly come to rely on the  Subway Map, the stop map inside the train, and a little app called CityMapper (its the best one we have found so far). So today, I wanted to share with you guys our current viewpoint about public transportation in NYC.   

Life on the Subway from the Logan Family Viewpoint 
(we are a really credible source)

1. The Subway is not always reliable. 

  • The train can and does occasionally change its route in the middle of a ride. The Mr. has had this happen a few times now. The F line changed to a C line, or a train stopped because someone got sick requiring all other trains to change their route. This can be and is very frustrating, especially when you aren't really sure where you are going to begin with! 
2. Construction is annoying.
  • We use the F line to basically get everywhere. Well since we arrived the F line has been under construction on the weekend. What does that mean? Well what should be a straight shot to wherever we are going now means we have to take the G line up 5 stops, transfer over to F (which is running the C line, but changes back to the F line at 4th and Washington, do you understand this? We get confused too)! Apparently construction was suppose to end last weekend , we will see how that plays out! I am pretty sure something is always under construction here.  
3. Rush Hour = Run, jump, say a quick prayer that you don't get caught in the door and just start pushing your way in, eventually it will clear out! 
  • Seriously, the Mr. says sometimes you can barely squeeze in but if you wait for the next one it is equally as crowded so you might as well pile on, everyone else is doing it!
4. People are actually friendly. 
  • Now don't get me wrong its still not the South, but people always offer me a sit when they see our struggle bus coming(mom, two little kids=struggle bus). They smile and wave at our kids (sometimes its creepy). Most of the time people are willing to hold the door for us as I push my double stroller through. They aren't rude or mean, just people! 
5. Occasionally there is Entertainment 
  • So far on the Subway I have heard a poet (yep, read poems he wrote about his life the entire ride), violinist, cellist, guitar player, and a group of acoustic singers. Sometimes these artist ride on the subway with you, sometimes they are just on the platform performing. I have yet to see a pole dancer (which I have heard is common, I'll keep you posted on that one)! 
6. If you enjoy people watching, just ride the Subway, or sit at the airport for a couple of hours.
  • Ok, seriously there is great people watching on the Subway. You really never know what you are going to see. I have to stop myself from staring, but my kids are a whole other story. They are not ones to shy away from getting all in someone else's business. Sometime it is hard to look away though, so I can't blame them. 
See, she is not in our conversation!

7. You can not depend on elevators or escalators at all Subway stops.
  • So momma in a city with two kids in tow. Of course you would think that the only way to get two and from would be a.)riding the subway b.) using the stroller. Well you are right, both are a necessity, however, the two go together like oil and water. There are not elevators or escalators at every stop (and if you do find one it is probably out of order) so you are likely to have to take both kids out of the stroller and carry the stroller up and down the stairs. This momma has just invested in a new stroller that supposedly weights 16 lbs. (my current one ways over 30 lbs. without the kids in it, hence why we haven't ventured out much alone). If the Mr. is with us I typically Ergo Baylor and Elin rides in a little umbrella stroller. However, Baylor's Ergo days are quickly coming to an end (he is heavy and pulls my hair the entire time). 
He maybe sleeping now but usually he is plucking my hair out one at a time.

8. Making sure you exit the subway at the right spot can be challenging. 
  • There are multiple exits when you get off the subway (NE corner, SE corner, etc.). This is probably the hardest part me. If I do happen to pick the right way to exit I often end up walking the wrong way when I come out. I am a work in progress when it comes to exiting the subway properly. 
9. The Subway is so much better than driving. 
  • So yes, I do drive around here, and yes I feel like a rockstar when I survive from driving around here, or just parking for that matter. The Mr. agrees commuting on the Subway is just nicer than battling the terrible drivers of the world. 
So far we have been here a month I have rode the subway just about every weekend with Mr. to go to our favorite place, Chick-Fli-a (hoping this weekend it is much smoother since the F line is suppose to be working). 

I have also rode the subway alone (kind of peaceful) to meet up with some Muhlenberg County friends. I can't thank these ladies enough for including me in their trip. It was so great to see familiar faces. 

You know life has come full circle when you have a mimosa with your Kindergarten/6th grade teacher/High School Counselor!

Now I did gain some courage and I have rode the subway one time alone with the kids. Let me just paint a picture for you. It was pouring down rain, winds 30 miles per hour, and I could not take my stroller because I am simply not strong enough to carry it down the stairs, so the dictator had to walk and old her umbrella (picture that struggle bus in your head and go ahead and laugh). Now normally I would have never gone out in those conditions, but if you remember me telling you all that we love visitors, well we had visitors. Some friends from KY were up on a quick "Babymoon" trip, and well I wasn't going to let rain stop us from seeing them. I have to give them props to because they came out in terrible conditions, and rode the Subway to Brooklyn to meet us. So like I have said before, we love visitors, we will come meet you, and I will ride the subway alone with my two littles to see familiar faces! 

1st of many rides alone, we survived!

Thanks Laura and Dave for battling the weather conditions just to see us!

Once this new stroller arrives and it warms up I am hoping the doors will open and I will feel braver about getting out and about with two littles in tow. I am sure in a few months I will feel like a pro! I'll leave you with some what we have been up to pictures! 

Rockefeller Christmas Tree, we were able to catch it before they took it down.

We went to visit/tour Etsy! If you visit and want to go just let us know, it is definitely something cool to see! 

We go to the park, A LOT! 

We found a doctor, I think! 

This is how we wear them out when its cold, snowing, or raining!

Prospect Park is basically our backyard! 

Our new stroller arrived TODAY! It fits through our doorway, weight 16 lbs., and has cup holders. I'll keep you posted on if we like it or not, fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year, New City

Happy New Year faithful blog readers. This is a pretty lengthy post all about our apartment hunting and move, so if you are curious read on, otherwise you can skip to the pictures, because lets face it that is what everyone really likes anyway. 

Its a New Year and the Logan's are in a new city, New York City to be exact. We said "goodbye to 2016, and goodbye to Connecticut". While Connecticut was a good transition for us we are not all that sad to say goodbye. The only major plus to living in Connecticut is that we were close to so many great places. We are really excited for our new adventure and seeing where God leads us here in New York. 

The adventure thus far has been pretty exhausting and exciting all at the same time. Back in October the Mr. accepted his job with Etsy and they wanted him to start November 28th. This meant we had to find an apartment and move, basically within 30 days. We had already planned to be in Kentucky for Thanksgiving, and the kids and I would be staying until the New Year. Needless to say I wanted to be moved before we packed our bags and head to KY for 6 weeks. Finding an apartment in NYC should've been easy right? 

We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Initially we thought lets just hire a realtor. However, we were shocked about the NYC real estate market. Besides how little square footage you get for your dollar (which we knew) there is a notorious broker fee (which we didn't know). Brokers fee you ask? Well basically if you get a real estate agent to assist you in the apartment hunt you will likely pay a brokers fee of around 12 to 15 percent of year's rent, talk about an absurd amount of money. Even if you don't get a broker and find a hidden gem on your own it is likely listed by a broker and thus you will end up paying it anyway. We decided it would be best to giving it a shot at finding an apartment on our own, or in other words I would become the Mr. real estate agent. Talk about a TOUGH client! 

Luckily we sort of know someone who lives in NYC so I was able to reach out to her to get the scoop on where to look for an apartment. She suggested I use a site called "Street Easy" to do my search. This site enables you to see all the rental units out there, narrow it down by area, price, amenities (yep, a washer and dryer is luxury people), and NO FEE apartments (extremely important, remember that Broker's Fee). While the Mr. was going through the interview process at Etsy I had already begun my research (just incase) on areas to live in based on schools, and family friendliness. I had it narrowed down to one particular area that is consider the stroller meca of NYC (AKA Kid City) and a couple that could be contenders if the apartment and price were right. Our check list seemed like it should be doable (price, 2 beds 1 bath (2 would be great but not a priority), neighborhood, designated space for Baylor (a walk-in closet would have been fine, thats where he was in CT), close to transit, and a washer and dryer (remember its a luxury). 

I set out to search using Street Easy and Craigslist, making appointments for the weekend and quickly learning that the Mr. would like an excel spreadsheet with everything laid out for him 😒. We had planned to go to NYC two weekends during the month of October because we thought surely we would find something relatively quickly. I mean it was October we needed a lease to start in November. Let me just say upfront if there was a way for us to loose and apartment we did. 

We headed down to Brooklyn, kids in tow (be thankful those of you have help with your kids, apartment hunting with two little people makes things really fun). We were set to look at an apartment basically on the hour from 9:00 until 5:00 with an hour lunch break. Yes, we are crazy, we realize that. The morning started off looking at places that just weren't doable, third floor walk-ups, no elevator, just felt dirty, space wasn't designed well, etc., etc. After lunch we thought we had hit the jack pot when we found a 2 bedroom, 2 bath in our price range, with a yard (that wasn't even on the list). We decided to think about it and told the agent (boo to an agent) that we would get back to them by Sunday evening. On the way home that night we decided we should just go for it, it was perfect, met all of requirements and some. However, we still had another contender that we were going to look at on Sunday and we decided not to fill out the application immediately. 

Sunday morning we woke the kids up at 6:00 to head back to Brooklyn to look at one unit. I told y'all we are crazy. We loved that unit too but decided that the one from Saturday was perfect. We called the agent, filled out the application on the way home, and thought it was a done deal. Two days later we got a phone call, saying sorry you guys weren't picked because you didn't bring the deposit with you and we went with another couple that had money in hand. Of course we were devastated because we thought it was perfect.

Lesson 1 when apartment searching in NYC bring money in hand so you can secure the apartment immediately. 

Now remember I told you we drove down Sunday and looked at an apartment. It was really cute, a little Brownstone on a quiet street in the Garden unit (this is the bottom floor of a Brownstone). We decided we could make that unit work as well, it too had two bed, only one bath, no space for Baylor, but it did have a backyard and was in the perfect area, plus NO FEE (huge plus). We called the family back and told them we were interested. We filled out the application, SENT money, and thought it was ours (we even did FaceTime with owners wife because she couldn't meet us Sunday). They called the next day told us that they wanted to do a background check, all things pointing or ours right? Background check cleared, and they sent us the lease all we had to do was sign. We read over the lease and couple of things in the lease didn't match what we had been told so we didn't sign right away (naturally) and sent them email asking for some verification. 

Lesson 2 there maybe other applicants that have made it to the final round as well, either a.) ask if there are other people that may still be contenders or b.) sign the lease right away. 

Yep, we didn't sign the lease instantly and someone else beat us to it. I am not joking people, this is real life apartment hunting in NYC problems. 

Completely devastated we were back to square one. Which meant another week of apartment searching, scheduling appointments and dragging our kids back to Brooklyn to spend a day going in and out of apartments. They really love us! Going into the 2nd weekend of apartment hunting we had learned some valuable lesson. Me, carry and excel spread sheet. Us, be ready to sign and come with money! You don't get a chance to think about things in NYC. The Mr. and I both had two apartments in mind that we thought would be winners. The Mr.  choice was up first and lets just say Elin fell down the stairs of this sixth floor, tiny stair walk up. Yeah, definitely not going to work with two little people. My apartment choice had stairs in the unit, and they were super narrow, plus it smelled like Kitty litter, blah! The third place of the day was what we considered doable. We didn't love it, we didn't hate it but we could make it work. At this point the kids were well you can imagine, we were well you can imagine, so we decided to just cave because we could definitely make it work and it hit several items on our list. We told the agent right there on the spot that we would take it, filled out the application, gave her not only the application fee but a deposit as well, and verified that there were no other applicants. Basically all we had to do was meet her at her office (Broker Fee, boo) and sign the lease on Tuesday. We cancelled ALL of our appointments for the rest of the day because it should have been a done deal right? Oh you guys come on I told you if we could loose and apartment in every way we pretty much did. So this particular unit had a tenant that supposedly was going to break his lease. The real estate agent told us that he would be out November 1st, according to the landlords conversation with him. Well Monday evening the real estate agent called to tell us that the tenant had changed his mind and would not be breaking his lease. 😢😡 There are no words to describe the emotions we were feeling. We were extremely frustrated to say the least. 

So you already know what this meant for us. Another week searching, and another weekend dragging our kids to Brooklyn to look at apartments. This would be our last weekend that we would be able to go to Brooklyn for a couple of weeks, and basically if we didn't find something we would have no hope of being able to move in before we headed to KY for Thanksgiving. November 1st was quickly approaching, and we had learned that a lot of places only had two move in dates a month, the 1st and the 15th, we would be headed to KY on the 18th. We really needed that November 1st start date. This time we decided that we would literally keep all of our appointments even if we decided on one. I had 8 appointments that day. Our kids were like the most amazing troopers we have ever seen. We found an apartment that met all of our needs and some (right area, 3 beds 2 baths, washer and dryer, just gut renovated, right price, close to transit, good layout, elevator in the building, NO FEE) it seriously seemed to good to be true. It was hard to look at anything else that day because it was so perfect. We decided not to get our hopes up but filled out the application, gave them money, asked about other potential applicants, and basically were told all we had to do was drive down Friday and sign the lease. Still doubtful, I drove down in the middle of the week to look at one more place that I had found on Street Easy. I wanted a back up plan, even though that place would have never worked. Friday came, the Mr. drove down, papers were signed, keys were given, and by golly we had an apartment with a lease date starting November 1st! It was like God let all the other apartments fall through because he knew he had this perfect place waiting for us. 

So because everyone is curious as to what a NY apartment looks like, I'll let you into my house, because I would be curious too. Now please note it may appear straight but what you do not see is the Cheerios on the floor, the pile of laundry in the closets, the dust that needs dusting, and well it only looked clean for the picture otherwise its a mess, we do have two little people. 

Our Building is only 6 floors, we live on the 3rd!

When you come into the apartment you can go straight

 or turn left. 

If you turn left you will find Elin's room, or our guest room (visitors welcome anytime)! 

Elin's room has a bathroom off of it, shower only but still perfect for guest! 

Now had you chose to go straight there is a bathroom off of the hall, this one has a tub! 

Then it opens up into our kitchen, dining, living room, laundry room all in one area! 

Check out that washer and dryer! Take that NYC we were able to find an apartment with a washer and dryer!

Off of the living room is our room and Baylor's Room/Playroom!

Now that I have let you in my home I'll be including FAQ section in this blog. Since we have announced that we were moving these are the most common questions we have been asked. 

Frequently asked questions:

Do you have a car?
Yes, we sold one of our cars and kept the other in case we ever wanted to escape the city and head to KY.

Where do you park?
We have street parking, we have to move the car either Thursday or Friday due to street cleaning, so thats the only downside. 

How big is your apartment?
Its comparable to our CT apartment, accept it has one extra bedroom and no dining room. Our CT apartment was 1100 square feet so I would say its about the same size. 

What do you do for groceries? 
There is a little mom and pop fruit stand across the street, for when you need to grab something quick. There is an Aldi 20 minutes away in one direction, Whole Foods 20 minutes in another direction. Apparently there is a grocery store in walking distance, we just haven't been there yet. Plus you can use a service called Fresh Direct which delivers groceries to your door. Ask me this again in about a month and I will tell you what we are doing. We will probably do a combination of it all.

How long does it take the Mr. to get to work?
While we are only like 9 miles away from his office, it takes him about 20 to 30 minutes, which includes riding the subway and walking time to get there. Which in CT this was his drive time, he says its a lot better than driving. 

How long does it take to get to Manhattan?
Its about a 40 minute subway ride to Time Square, maybe longer depending on how the trains are running that day. Which remember you are just sitting and riding, and there are a lot of stops between here and there. 

What are you close to? 
The central park of Brooklyn, also know as Prospect Park is literally like 5 blocks away. Two or three stops up is basically any restaurant you want, and maybe five or six stops up is Target and lots of shopping. 

What's the weather like?
Its pretty comparable to home. Basically we are like a day behind. So if it is snowing there today its probably going to be snowing here tomorrow. It is warmer here than in CT and CT has snow on the ground like all the time. NYC may get snow in feet like CT but I have no idea at this point. All I know is that it was 45 degrees here yesterday and 32 in CT so to me its step in the right direction. 

Do you like living in NYC?
Um, I have no idea. We literally moved in and the kids and I left for KY for six weeks. We just got back on Sunday and so far Elin has just wanted to be at home, which I understand we have been away for 6 weeks. We went to the post office yesterday and stopped by a park to swing for a minute. Ask me this in a year, my view point on living in the city maybe slightly more informed then. 

Are you guys going to live there forever?
I have no idea! I wish I could see the future but I can't. I am just trusting God's plan for our lives and right now he has called us to Brooklyn. We do know we will be here for at least 18 months because that is how long our lease is for. 

Do you want visitors?
Um, yes please! The more the merry! 

If you have any other questions just post them in the Comments section of the blog, and I will get back to you! I'll leave you with this cute little picture of my two love bugs! 

Thank you to all my loyal readers. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year! The Logan's Do Life blog will strive to keep you updated on all of our adventures here in Brooklyn and in NYC in general. Stay tuned!