Ed and I started looking for houses before we were even engaged. I guess that should have been a clue that Ed was serious about getting serious! Back then, however, we looked at houses just for fun. After we got married and wanted to have a baby, house hunting became much more of a chore. I had been renting apartments up to that point, so anything that was small and cute looked great to me. Ed, however, had very specific guidelines. Our house had to have a big yard and a basement. We had to be within walking distance of a playground, and the neighborhood should have sidewalks. We were both in our 30s, and Ed was looking for our lifetime house. That sounded fine to me; I had moved from apartment to apartment in my 20s, and I was ready to settle down.
We both grew up in suburbs just outside of Chicago, and Ed works in the same suburb he grew up in. However, the houses and yards were too small and too expensive. The suburb I spent my high school years in had bigger lots, but was even more expensive. We were going to have to look further away from the city.
We finally found a house that was on a tree lined street at the right price. Not only did it have a big yard, but it also had 3 bedrooms and a basement! It required (and still does require) some cosmetic changes, but despite the old carpeting and the outdated kitchen, it is our family home.
Here are ten reasons I love living here:
1. Our street is lovely to drive down. The trees arch over the street, and the mature trees really drew us to this neighborhood.
2. Our neighbors are awesome. The girls next door are always playing with our girls. The neighbors across the street have become good friends, and every one else is simply neighborly.
3. We live in walking distance to the elementary school. This has made my life so easy! We also live really close to the preschool where I work. I can drop off the girls at school and get to work in less than five minutes (unless there’s a train).
4. Even though we chose a suburb that is not next door to Chicago, we are also not that far away. If there’s not any traffic, we can be downtown in 20 minutes. (Of course, that rarely works out, but Ed and I discovered the hard way that LA traffic is much worse than Chicago traffic!) We live within walking distance of a Metra train station, and while it only runs during the week, it’s a great way to get downtown.
5. Cook County has a reputation for being very crooked in politics, but it also has a wonderful forest preserve district. We live right by the River Trails Nature Center, and there’s a variety of hiking trails and programs we love to attend. We’ve seen maple syrup demonstrations and gone the fall festival. Every day a ranger feeds the animals and talks about them. Every time we go, we learn something new!
6. We live close to a playground, which was one of Ed’s requirements. This saved me many times when I was a stay-at-home mom with a baby! I was able to get out of the house and meet new moms just like myself at the playground. Now it’s a great place to walk with the girls and they see many of their friends there.
7. We aren’t that far from the church were Ed and I met and married. Our church family is very important to us! Even though there are a couple of Lutheran churches that are closer, we still take the time to drive to our home church.
8. We also live close to Ed’s family. While I wish I lived closer to my own family, my in-laws help us a lot. I don’t know what we’d do without them!
9. I love Lake Michigan. I grew up swimming in the Lake, and I love going to the beach.
10. I never wanted to live in the suburbs. I wanted to live in a small town, like the one where I spent the first 12 years of my life. Or in the country on a farm. I moved out to a small town after college and intended on staying there. But the suburbs was where I found love. This is where my children were born. And so despite my efforts to leave the suburbs, this is now my home.
What do you love about where you live?