I need to write this post before we move or it will never happen. There won't be much looking back once we are finally in our new house.
It was my idea to live downtown while we remodeled our new house. I wanted a distraction, a place far from both our old house and our new house, a location that would allow us to explore new things rather than just impatiently wait for this life phase to be over.
It has definitely been different and we have kept busy and entertained.
Living downtown you might get a parade of elephants right past your front door,
or wake up on a Saturday morning to find the American Royal Parade going down your street. In many ways, this is the ultimate neighborhood - full of events and people, never a dull moment and always something new. Our neighbors are tattoo parlors and a bartending school, a coffee shop, LuLu's Thai Noodles, and Union Station. We can walk to Crown Center, and the River Market is a stroller ride away. We walk to the Sprint Center and the Kauffman Center. On date nights, Ryan and I walk to Affare and Extra Virgin. We've tried every Mexican joint on Southwest Boulevard.
This is the best view of Kansas City and I will never tire of taking it in from the base of the Liberty Memorial. This view was the half-way mark in my regular 3.5 mile running route from our loft.
There are some inconvenient aspects of living in an apartment building. Taking Roxie in and out three times a day with two kids in tow never got any easier. Standing in a vacant parking lot on a dark, cold Winter morning is not at the top of my list of favorite things about city living.
The kids are so used to the routine now, they race to take Roxie outside and fight over who gets to throw the poop bag in the dumpster. Oh, the stories we can tell!
I don't know if Charlie will remember walking the streets of downtown, exploring empty parking lots and the downtown urban garden, or watching the trains go by from our balcony. I hope he does.
We felt a bit cooped up in the winter and had to get creative and use the basement of our building for some play space. This long hallway served as Charlie's soccer training ground.
Being on the ground floor of our building and having this balcony made our situation work. I can't imagine how loud we would have been to someone living under us. And this outdoor space really came in handy when we all had cabin fever and needed a little room to breathe.
Parking during the snowy winter months and late at night often meant driving around looking for a spot. Trekking to the door with arms full of kids and their gear was always a challenge. Sometimes we got lucky and found "Rock Star Parking!" as Charlie liked to shout.
Our biggest challenge in this space was sleeping. Other than the master bedroom, the loft was one big open space for the kids' rooms and the living room and kitchen. Charlie learned to sleep with lights on and lots of noise. Izzy stopped sleeping in her bed entirely after the first few months. We grew tired of fighting her to sleep every night, we couldn't let her cry or she would wake Charlie and anger all our neighbors. The only thing we knew to do was bring her in to bed with us. She never left.
Living downtown was a temporary gig and a layover on the way to our new home in Kansas. Had we done things differently, bought a condo and made it our own, I think living downtown could be amazing with kids. Because we have our dream home waiting for us at the end of this journey, of course we can't wait to move on. But I can imagine living here and loving it.
I am sure our neighbors will be happy to see us go. They won't miss the yelling, crying, banging, and shouting. We were an odd sight coming and going with kids, toys, costumes, sippy cups, strollers, and soccer balls. Charlie and Izzy loved to yell and hear their voices echo in the large hallways. They always had to climb the railing next to the mailboxes in the lobby. They said hello to everyone we passed in the halls, asking them "what are you doing?" or "where are you going?" They had to pet every dog we encountered - which is no small number considering our building is essentially a hotel for dogs.
There have been some embarrassing and uncomfortable moments. There was the time Izzy threw up on the stairs just outside our building and I had to clean it all up before the 5:00 pm parade of dogs got to it.
There was the time our neighbor knocked on the door to ask us to be quiet. It was our first week in the apartment and Ryan was out of town. Thankfully those neighbors moved.
There was the time I took Roxie outside and didn't lock the door behind me. I thought Ryan had both kids in the bath. I came back inside to find Izzy standing at the front door of our building, her face pressed against the glass door crying and yelling for mommy, wearing only a diaper. Two seconds later Charlie comes racing out the door of our apartment into the lobby without a stitch of clothes on his body. One poor woman bringing her dog back in from outside witnessed it all. We're lucky she didn't call the authorities.
There was the time I lost sight of Izzy in the parking lot. It was the longest 30 seconds, and the most intense fear and panic I've ever known.
We will miss weekly dining with our good neighbors at LuLu's Thai Noodles.
Union Station has been a most gracious neighbor and always had an open door for us. We know the place so well now and took advantage of every exhibit, show, and holiday to visit.
We celebrated all of our birthdays in this space. Izzy has lived half her short life in this loft...
and we had our first broken bone while living here.
We enjoyed visiting the downtown public library and the kids' reading room was usually ours alone.
Being displaced from a home and having things in storage for almost a year would be tough no matter where we lived. I am happy we've had this experience and I think we made the most of our time. Now we are ready for our suburban home with a big yard, a garage, and neighborhood kids filling the street. I can appreciate where we've been and I'm looking forward to what's next.
Nearby parks left something to be desired, so we had the most fun running around the grass at the Liberty Memorial, standing on the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks behind Union Station, playing ball in an empty lot, and checking out the planting beds in the nearby urban garden.
Roxie has been the best sport of all through this transition. Hold on Rox, your new yard awaits!
There will be no bike or scooter riding inside the new house so I hope Charlie got it out of his system.
Thank you Downtown KC!