Last weekend, our family made a quick - but busy - trip to Pittsburgh. Eric and I toured several houses that we could potentially rent while he completes his program at Pitt, while my mom graciously watched Emily so we could better concentrate on the pros and cons of all the houses we visited. Our goals were to find a house that a) is close to Oakland, the part of downtown where Eric will commute for the majority of his classwork, b) is somewhat close to my parents, so that they can more easily help with childcare we can see them more often and c) provides enough space (both inside and out) that we can live as a family of four without losing our sanity. We toured several homes, some new and shiny and others older and rundown. In all, I was surprised at the poor condition that some renters kept their residences. I hope our renters like to clean! Maybe that should be part of our application. When you spill juice on the floor, do you a) clean it right away with the appropriate cleaner, b) wipe a paper towel over it or c) pretend that you can't see it and maybe it will go away? Anyway, we found a house that met our criteria in Bellevue, a neighborhood just to the North of the city of Pittsburgh. It is a fairly nice walkable neighborhood for walks and runs, and we got a lot of house for our money (3 BR, 2 Bath). There is a great fenced in backyard, and the previous renters are even leaving us their swingset. Score!
One more thing we can check off our list. Now we pray steadfastly for the right people to find our Grand Rapids home! Here's a picture of our new place.