NYC and OFB Update


We’ve almost been NYC residents for three months now, so I wanted to give a brief update on how we’re adjusting this time around. I still can’t believe this is our second time living in the city! And honestly, it feels totally different than last time. For one, we’re on the West side instead of the East side, which has a totally different, more neighborhoodly vibe. Also, we have a kid (and a half), which has been a game changer. If given the choice to walk 20 blocks or ride the subway with Sally, I usually choose to walk. At least at her age, public transit is rather difficult because she doesn’t like to sit still. That said, I’m actually really excited to spend a summer in the city with a toddler… I hear it’s pretty great.




Speaking of summer, in case you haven’t heard, we’ve had a brutal winter. It’s been tempting to stay indoors all day every day, and we sometimes do. But more often than not, we head out because two-year-olds who stay inside all day turn into little hellions. Some of our favorite free activities are the public library, Petco, and Riverside Park. They’re all within a 10-minute walk of our house, and Sally can get her fill of books, animals, and scooter practice. We haven’t been able to go to a playground for weeks because they’re all covered in snow! We’re more than ready for the winter thaw to begin.



For groceries, we mostly do delivery (read all about it here), but every other month or so, we take the bus to Costco, stock up, and then take the bus home with a suitcase full of food. It’s unconventional and inconvenient, but that food is definitely well-earned. It’s been tough to stick to our grocery budget out here, but I’m hoping we hit our stride soon!

Apartment Living



So far so good on small-space living. We’re not sure how many square feet our apartment is, but we’re guessing 900 or so. It’s enough that we don’t feel like we’re living on top of each other, but we (read: mostly me) start going a little bit crazy if things get messy or cluttered. Our hot water consistently works, and we have a full-size oven and dishwasher — all perks we missed out on last time we were NYC residents. We also haven’t encountered any vermin yet (and hopefully never ever do), which makes this mom very happy. Before the baby comes, hopefully I can get around to sharing some more photos of our place out here.

Baby #2


We’re a little over six weeks out from my due date, and we’re getting really excited! Sally and baby #2 will be sharing a room eventually, but with the shared bedroom situation, I think the new baby will sleep in our room longer than Sally did. Having the baby will definitely be different out here. The hospital recovery rooms are shared in NYC, so once I’m moved out of my labor and delivery room, I’ll most likely have a roommate. And Johnny won’t be allowed to spend the night with me. It is what it is — just another unique aspect of NYC living! Also, we are totally stumped on a name for baby #2!




Sally’s adjusting as well as can be expected for a two-year-old. We’re not sure if it’s her age or the move that caused it, but she’s become quite an expert on tantrum throwing all over the city — from the subway to the library to the playground to the middle of the sidewalk. But we’re working with her on it and realize it’s just a stage. It’s surprisingly fun to see the joy Sally gets from this city. She especially loves the subways, everyone’s dogs, and the endless playgrounds. She’s already learned to stand still on street corners until it’s time to cross the street — a random life lesson she probably wouldn’t learn anywhere else.

Sally’s recently started waking up in the middle of the night and asks for milk, books, songs, etc. While we usually give her something to drink and sing her a song, nothing seems to satisfy her. And so she screams and yells and cries. We got a visit from our neighbor whose bedroom shares a wall with Sally’s bedroom (oops!), and understandably he’s tired of hearing her wails in the middle of the night… so that’s been fun!

I figure if we can be happy during this most terrible of winters, we’re really gonna love NYC once it warms up a bit. I’ve had a few moments when I’ve missed our car or Walmart, but overall, we’re enjoying ourselves. Would you ever consider big city living? Better yet, would you ever consider living in Manhattan?

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  • Reply Catherine February 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I love NYC. The first time i went i fell in love (we rented an apt on upper east side) and i said if i could ever afford it i would totally own real estate there (nothing could make me give up my Canadian citizenship though!). When our debt is paid off a family trip to NYC is on the top of our list 🙂

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      That sounds like a great post-debt trip. Just be sure to plan it during our warmer months because winter in NYC isn’t my favorite place :).

  • Reply Brian February 25, 2015 at 9:55 am

    My wife wanted me to get a job and move to NYC. I was very open to the idea. Then we had two kids and decided if we are going to leave the Midwest it will be to move to a different country (most likely somewhere in Europe because I have EU citizenship). I have enjoyed my visits to NYC and I do love a good city, but being in an extremely affordable Midwest suburb isn’t so bad.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Not bad at all. The affordability factor is probably what I miss most about living in NYC. Everything we want is at our fingertips, but it all comes at a price.

  • Reply Carly February 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Living in NYC would be such an experience. I think I would enjoy it for a short time but then get reverse cabin fever haha! I grew up in the middle of nowhere and enjoy that. I have lived in big cities in my lifetime and it was fun for short spurts. I look forward to learning more about life in NYC with kidlets!!!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Oh definitely! We’ve already felt that need to leave the city. One of the tricks to living out here and staying sane is taking lots of mini trips!

  • Reply Coolfam February 25, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I would love to live in NYC but with kids aged 8-15 it becomes more difficult to uproot them. I also live in the Toronto area and don’t have US citizenship. Your daughter is very photogenic and or whoever is taking the pics is a great photographer!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Well thank you! If our daughter was older, moving out here would have probably been out of the question. We’re living up our ability to move around as we please until she’s a little older!

  • Reply Petrish @ Debt Free Martini February 25, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I am a Jersey girl so I am very familiar to the type of life you all are living and I’m glad to see you all are enjoying. New York is still not my cup of tea, but I get it and sometimes considered moving there, but its hard to resist the open space, grass, and fresh air (yah right) in New Jersey. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful and I really enjoyed this post. Good luck with everything.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks! If I’m being honest, we’re on our last straw with this weather…. city life is tough when it’s this cold for this long. Here’s to hoping it ends before we all lose our minds!

  • Reply Kristina February 25, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I love reading your posts even more now that you guys live here. I’m in Queens which isn’t exactly Manhattan, but there are similarities.
    I lived in a small Texas town most of my life, so while this has been a big change, I knew what I was getting into before I moved.
    I would move into Manhattan in a heartbeat. I think I would miss my car most if I did that, but I would adapt. Alas, I cannot afford to move into the city, and I do not want roommates just so that I can afford it.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Getting a rental car a couple of weeks ago was the most liberating feeling, so enjoy that car of yours! I think you have the best of both worlds… access to the city, yet you’re able to escape it a bit in Queens at the same time.

  • Reply Suzanne February 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Great post! Very honest and open! I think you have done pretty well with the transition given that you’ve been given right hooks with the move being to sprawling NYC, winter, pregnant with no. 2 (Millie would sound great by the way for a name 😉 ) and with a toddler…how are you still sane??!! Hopefully sally will be in big sister mode when the new baby arrives and you’ll have less tantrums… Best of luck with everything.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Haha, thanks! I don’t know how we’re still sane. If the weather doesn’t warm up soon, we may very well all be losing our sanity soon. I think Sally is *finally* grasping that a baby sister is coming, just in time for her arrival in the next three weeks or so!

  • Reply Rob February 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    “we are totally stumped on a name for baby #2!”

    Here’s a suggestion, based on what we did when we were your age, in naming our 2 kiddos:
    Go to library and take out a book on baby names. Then you guys each (alone) make your own separate list of name preferences. Since you already know that it will be a girl, you won’t need to make a list of boys names. When done, then compare your lists for matches and that should help narrow down the list to choose from. Other things to consider: how will the baby’s name go with your family name, try for a name that the baby’s (future) friends won’t make fun of or be subject to teasing, choose a name that is easy to spell and/or to remember, and lastly run your list past Sally to see if she likes any of them and (perhaps) can pronounce a few of them. This all worked for us when we had our daughter and her (2 years) younger brother.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Good idea! Those are all important considerations. We’ve had a few more talks, and we think we have a front runner, but we’ll still have to see her to be sure!

  • Reply Amber February 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I am so not a city girl haha. I think it’s fun to visit, but I like wide open spaces, deer in my backyard, and not having anybody’s house close enough to hear my future babies through the walls. I live outside of Philadelphia, so I can easily visit Philly, NYC, DC, and Baltimore and that is enough for me.

    Great shots of Sally, so adorable 🙂

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      That’s a nice balance… having a big city nearby, but living with plenty of space. That’s our long-term ideal, but for now, we’re enjoying the city life while it lasts!

  • Reply Bethany February 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Please tell me you’ve looked at

    One nice feature they have is the “you might also like…” button. So if you look up the name Sally, one suggestion they have is Kathleen/Kitty. Sally & Kitty! Cute!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I think that’s the best name site yet. We still aren’t certain of a name, so we’ll be looking at it some more in the next couple of weeks! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Tarynkay February 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I would totally live in NYC. I expect it would be easier on our three year old human than on our dog. Though I am grateful for not sharing walls when my three year old is having an epic tantrum.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Oh boy, the sharing walls thing has been tough… and our newborn hasn’t even arrived yet! I have a feeling we’re going to tick off a different set of neighbors once she’s screaming in our bedroom all hours of the night. Crazily enough, everyone has dogs out here. I don’t know how they do it!

  • Reply Zoë February 25, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    I would move to Manhattan tomorrow if we had the money (and reason) to do it. I grew up in SE London, so I am definitely a city girl. I loved being able to walk everywhere the most.

    We are now in Atlanta after years of rural small town life, and I love it. It’s a lot greener than I thought it would be, and has a great community feel with all these small neighbourhoods. But it has the conveniences of a big city too. Let’s just not talk about traffic and the lack of sidewalks and public transportation.

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Yes, I really do love walking everywhere… one of my favorite aspects of NYC living. If the weather would warm up, I’d like it even more! If we ever moved back to the South (where I’m from), I think we’d consider Atlanta because it has the best of both worlds. Glad you’re enjoying it!

  • Reply Mrs. Frugalwoods February 26, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Sounds like you’re settling in so well! We live in Cambridge, MA, which is the perfect amount of city for us. We were in NYC for awhile and then DC, but Cambridge seems to be our better fit.

    I’m super impressed with your bus-to-Costco trips! That’s awesome!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      What a beautiful area. We loved our time in MA, and we loved Cambridge. I’m hoping we can head up there this summer for a weekend!

  • Reply Sharon February 26, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Nope, couldn’t live in the city with babies. (Although you seem to be doing it effortlessly!) I could see us doing it now that we are almost empty nesters…love the idea of walking everywhere, but would still need a car, for sure!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      It was much more intimidating to think about doing than it was to actually do, if that makes sense. It’s crazy what becomes doable when you’re forced to do it ha! We really love walking everywhere, but having the option of a car would be very liberating!

  • Reply Anne February 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    It would take one heck of a job opportunity to get us to a BIG city, but we love our medium one. We’d have a hard time with a small town too I think.

    And I see Sally is maintaining her adorableness, hopefully the tantrum phase passes quickly!

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Yep, you get the best of both worlds with medium city living. The tantrums have gotten a little better, but my fingers are crossed that they improve even more in the next few weeks! Even if they don’t, I think the baby will force her to grow up some!

  • Reply Little House March 2, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Sounds like you’re all having fun in NYC, even in the dead of winter! I have family in Manhattan, and though I absolutely love visiting them (particularly in the summer, of course), I don’t think I’d ever really want to live there. And I’m with you, the West side is much more neighborhood oriented. With that said, I do live in Los Angeles, a big city of its own. Totally un-walkable, which stinks, and sprawling, but there are some great things about it – especially the weather! 😉

    • Reply Joanna March 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Oh gosh… the weather in LA sounds like a dream after the winter we’ve had. We had one warmish day a week or so ago, and I loved NYC that day. So I’m hoping spring and summer make me fall in love with this city again because this winter is making it tough!

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