Summer on Vashon Island is the perfect place for kids. We moved here in late June during a 2-month period of virtually no rain. It was gorgeous. The deer were basically greeting us every morning. Our house was this beautiful early-20th century farmhouse with a teal door on acres of overgrown grass a few blocks from town. We played at the beach and in our yard and rode bikes and spotted porpoises swimming in the Puget Sound.
As fall started, the rain was slowly coming on and Simon broke his foot and things got a little harder, but we still enjoyed what fun Vashon had to offer. Jamund could be found with the kids at the skate park and Eleanor had a weekly dance class. The highlight of fall though was probably the sheepdog trials held at Misty Isle Farm in early September. It was hot, but there were sheep-dogs, herding sheep all day! We had so much fun.
We had visited Portland last year thinking about building and didn't really like it, but after thinking it over decided to give it another shot. Portland is so cute and walkable and relatively affordable. It also has a lot of OCD specialists, which is really really important to us.
After Christmas we flew from Vegas to Seattle, and the next morning drove down to Portland. We spent the whole day looking at houses, without any success. Exhausted and famished, we had our anniversary dinner with the kids at the flagship Spaghetti Factory in Portland and decided to stay another night to keep searching. Not the most romantic evening, but you know. We all slept well :) Anyway that night Kari found a house in Vancouver, Washington that looked "perfect".
We were pleasantly surprised as we drove to the house the next morning. Instead of malls and four lanes of traffic thoroughfares, we were in the "old" downtown area of Vancouver. It looked like Portland but less sketchy. Old houses, new houses that looked old, little restaurants, an old movie theater, sidewalks, porches, trees. We envisioned strip mall surbubia, the bedroom community to Portland, yuck! But the house looked awesome, exactly what Kari would have designed in a home. It looked like a house from that show "Fixer Upper".
Within a few minutes, we decided to make an offer. Within a few days, we were under contract. Having to break the news to our builder on Vashon was super sad (he is still planning to build "our" house and sell it and then we can get the money we put into it out), and having to break the news to our friends here sadder still. But for now, the stability and access to getting help for Kari's OCD trumps all else.
We are excited to be in a new place for all of us, exploring it together for the "first" time. It's a fresh start in a new place. We are excited to bike and walk and eat at cute restaurants and still be within 15-30 minutes of downtown Portland. And yes, we are excited not to have to a take a ferry quite so much. Maybe just for our future visits back to the Island :)