Colin and I had not lived in an apartment since we were first married. It was the two of us and the cat. I remember when we moved into that house in Houston, oh how big it felt! Fast forward 12 years and 5 kids later (with lots and lots of stuff!), and we found ourselves living in an apartment once more.
The biggest drawback to apartment living with children was the lack of a yard. Our kids were so used to spending their afternoons climbing trees, swinging, and playing ball. Our complex did not have any place suitable for these activities. Abigail, who is an outdoor child if I ever saw one, couldn't even be out without adult supervision, as she would end up in the parking lot. It is no wonder that our biggest "must have" for our new home was a large, fenced in yard!
I also was out of the habit of hiking from the back of a large parking lot with groceries (and now children) in tow. That added a good 5-7 minutes to any errand. But I did get my exercise! Our kitchen was small (as apartment kitchens are), but we didn't even unpack our dishes and used paper plates for 8 months. Don't know what that did for our carbon footprint, but boy clean up was a breeze!
We were fortunate in the inside space we had. We had 3 large bedrooms, one big enough for all 4 boys to share. We had a "loft" so the kids had a playroom for the first time ever (we loved that!). And we had a third bathroom! After a few months with that luxury, it quickly made our wants list for the new house!
Why were we in the apartment so long? Well, it took 6 weeks after we left our Houston house to get it fixed to where it could enter the market. The market was terrible, and at a slow time of year (Oct. - Jan.), so it took 90 days to sell our house, even priced reasonably and all fixed up. And then we bought a short sale - I may have a few interesting posts about that process!
But we love our new home! We are so glad we took the low risk route of selling before buying after hearing some real horror stories. Besides, now we have stories about teh memories we made in our cramped, but cozy apartment home! I will admit, though, that it is much easier to laugh about it now, than it was to actually live out the process!